In 2009 the NJ Federation of Sportsmen and others lobbied hard for a saltwater fishing license. The license would have created a reliable, dedicated funding source for NJ marine fisheries. Dedicated accounts have been setup by NJ legislators for numerous projects and causes,from cancer to dredging. However, the money is not protected, it is on the table during budget time. Usually disappearing at this point.
Recreational fishing interests and a State Senator, push hard against a NJ saltwater license. They claimed five dollars was too much to pay for the license. They warned of the money being diverted/stolen,like other dedicated accounts. They promised other ways to fund New Jersey marine fisheries. License plates, State budget and others, all of them have failed. Their decisions,choices and responses were based on 90% of the available information. The 10% of information they chose to overlooked, held the correct compass heading for New Jersey Marine fisheries.
Here is a big part of the 10%:
“Federal regulations under 50 CFR Part 80 would apply to saltwater fishing license funds. These dollars would be provided the full protection of federal law, and could not be used for any purpose other than the fisheries work of NJ DFW. My office, and the OIG enforce these regulations – it is a big part of what we do. Over the past two years I have personally intervened in close to 20 attempts to divert license revenues or assets acquired with those funds across the 18 agencies in our region that receive Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration dollars. We take this responsibility very seriously, and have, to date, prevented diversions.”
– John F. Organ, Ph.D., CWB
Chief, Division of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration
Adjunct Associate Professor of Wildlife Conservation, UMass Amherst
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Today’s sad Rartian Bay oyster situation (NJ side), is a direct result of not having a saltwater fishing license in New Jersey. See NJ.com for story.
New Jersey’s failure during the February ASMFC meeting to improve summer flounder management, was in part, due to the lack of a saltwater license fund. New Jersey’s representatives showed up without any scientific data whatsoever! This was a very expense loss to the tourist industry and fishermen.
Red drum and speckled-trout have really taken a hit also, due to the lack of funds.
The NJ red drum commercial harvest remains unlimited, making it impossible for them to recover fully. NJ does not have the money to declare an interest in speckled-trout. They have absolutely no scientific data on the fishery. New Jersey’s conservation officers are so understaffed at this point, it threatens the entire seafood industry. Especially with the poaching from Newark Bay and other highly polluted areas.
A reliably funding source for New Jersey marine fisheries is long overdue. The only way it will happen in this state, is with a saltwater license fund.