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Old 03-09-2012, 04:11 PM
Fish The Drop Off Fish The Drop Off is offline
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Default New Legislation to remove gear from 99% of New Jersey's reef sites

Recreational Fishing Alliance (NJ)
Contact: Capt. Adam Nowalsky (609-618-0366)
For Immediate Release
March 9, 2012
NEW POTS OFF REEF BILL MOVES IN ASSEMBLY
RFA-NJ Supports New Legislation To Address Fixed Gear Issue

(3/9/2012) The New Jersey Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted this week to move forward Assembly legislation which would remove commercial gear from 99% of deployed reef materials on New Jersey's two inshore artificial reefs.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) and the RFA-NJ board are supportive of the legislation calling it a win for recreational anglers who fish at the Sandy Hook and Axel Carlson reef sites where deployed commercial finfish, lobster and conch pots have created an access problem in recent years.

"When you consider that this bill would limit gear to 1% of the deployed reef materials on our two state reefs, clearing 99% of the state's deployed reef materials at both Axel Carlson and Sandy Hook, I'd say this is a pretty big win for New Jersey saltwater anglers," said RFA-NJ Chairman Capt. Adam Nowalsky.

The RFA also noted that this particular legislation (A2645) is also the first step in a regulatory process which will hopefully remove all fixed gear from New Jersey's remaining artificial reef sites from Shark River and Sea Girt south to the Cape May and Deepwater reef sites.

In the Asbury Park Press today, Nowalsky said RFA-NJ's board is supportive of the concept of the bill, but he also maintained that there are some issues that need to be addressed, such as what specific areas along one of the corners of the reefs will be allowed for commercial usage.

"We support Assembly Albano's efforts to hear a bill in his committee and we look forward to a companion Senate bill and a reconciliation of the two bills. The most important thing is we've got things moving again. The reef program is of utmost importance to the state's anglers."

A-2645 would prohibit fixed gear from approximately 90% of New Jersey's two inshore artificial reefs located off Monmouth County; the other smaller 10% geographic area which would allow fixed gear have historically been used by generations of lobster potters. During the prime fishing season of May 15 to October 1, fish pots would be prohibited from the entire reef areas.

The legislation also directs the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to take action to modify the Artificial Reef Program grants, if necessary, to comply with use of federal funding. The legislation would also initiate a pot management plan in the state to prompt NJDEP to take accounting and accountability measures as to the number of fish pots presently deployed - and by whom - in New Jersey coastal waters

Capt. Nowalsky said the RFA-NJ board of directors discussed the legislation at length on Wednesday night and took a position in support of A-2645. "While RFA-NJ has held the position of no pots on our state reefs, we believe the benefits of this legislation are significant enough to move it forward," he said. Testimony from former state Reef Coordinator Bill Figley in support of the bill, provided it restores funding to the reef program, bolstered the Board's position.

"This bill gives 90% of Axel Carlson and Sandy Hook reefs exclusively to hook and line fishing and it gives the state the ability to pursue special management zone designation for the other 13 artificial reef sites along our coast," Nowalsky added.

RFA-NJ is also confident that the legislation will once again allow the NJDEP to make use of Sport Fish Restoration Funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for reef deployment. According to the Asbury Park Press, USFWS chief Dr. John Organ said he was currently reviewing the legislation, but noted that federal funding for New Jersey's restoration programs has not been reduced nor removed, only that federal money designated for the state cannot be used for the state's artificial reef program.

Although attempts to build ocean reefs off New Jersey began in 1935, it wasn't until 1984 that the State of New Jersey initiated a Reef Program administered by the NJDEP to build reefs along the coast. Two of the 15 reef sites - Axel Carlson and Sandy Hook - are located within state waters, the other 13 artificial reef sites designated as being deployed in federal waters.

"This has been a long, drawn-out battle but this legislation will finally open up the process by which the regional fisheries council can implement a special management zone for our other reef sites," said RFA executive director Jim Donofrio. "From the hearing this week, some of the leading activists and organizers in the New Jersey artificial reef program including former reef director Bill Figley are supportive of this concept in Assembly effort, so that alone tells me this is a good deal for anglers, and something to support moving forward."

"Also of major importance in this particular bill is the language concerning an NJDEP pot management plan which would address the proliferation of fish pots and fixed gear on all other snags and lumps in New Jersey coastal waters not designated part of the state's artificial reef complex," Donofrio said.

"Not only will this legislation immediately clear 99% of the material on those two artificial reef sites of fixed gear, it will also address what happens to that gear when it's deployed in other state coastal waters," Donofrio added.

To listen in on the testimony at this week's Assembly Committee hearing including RFA-NJ's full comments, go to http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/a...N&SESSION=2012 and click on the Listen button from Commitee Room 8.


About Recreational Fishing Alliance
The Recreational Fishing Alliance is a national, grassroots political action organization representing recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry on marine fisheries issues. The RFA Mission is to safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our Nation's saltwater fisheries. For more information, call 888-JOIN-RFA or visit www.joinrfa.org.
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  #2  
Old 03-09-2012, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: New Legislation to remove gear from 99% of New Jersey's reef sites

Since the Sandy hook reef , and Axel carlson probably get as Much or more traffic than most of the other reefs combined I think it is not a great bill by any means.

should be getting gear off ALL the reefs

Amazing how each seperate fishing group is putting their own spin on this issue , as seeing the RFA ia saying its removing all but 1 percent from reef total , when the Northern reefs are going to have all of that gear in total .

and saying the reefs are most utilized in may to October 1 when the reefs are used alot more for Blackfish in November and December seems like the RFA is really starting to pick only what they want to see in the bills , and not what benefits everyone .

Looks like I will be joining the guys to rethink whether the RFA is actually working to benefit everyone here equally or just those that have their own agenda
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Last edited by hammer4reel; 03-09-2012 at 04:43 PM..
  #3  
Old 03-09-2012, 04:37 PM
Fish The Drop Off Fish The Drop Off is offline
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Default Re: New Legislation to remove gear from 99% of New Jersey's reef sites

Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer4reel
Since the Sandy hook reef , and Axel carlson probably get as Much or more traffic than most of the other reefs combined I think it is not a great bill by any means.

should be getting gear off ALL the reefs

They are the only two reef in NJ waters. One step at a time.
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  #4  
Old 03-09-2012, 04:37 PM
Fish The Drop Off Fish The Drop Off is offline
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Default Re: New Legislation to remove gear from 99% of New Jersey's reef sites

Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer4reel
Since the Sandy hook reef , and Axel carlson probably get as Much or more traffic than most of the other reefs combined I think it is not a great bill by any means.

should be getting gear off ALL the reefs

They are the only two reef in NJ waters. One step at a time.
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  #5  
Old 03-09-2012, 06:11 PM
CaptTB CaptTB is offline
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Default Re: New Legislation to remove gear from 99% of New Jersey's reef sites

Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer4reel
Since the Sandy hook reef , and Axel carlson probably get as Much or more traffic than most of the other reefs combined I think it is not a great bill by any means.

should be getting gear off ALL the reefs
Does not work that way. Even the bill that was introduced a few years ago does not remove gear from anything other than the two state reefs. The state has no jurisdiction over reefs in federal waters as to gear management. Once a bill, any bill, passes then you must go to the MAFMC and request SMZ status for the reefs in federal waters.

No matter the bill that fact does not change.

Quote:
Amazing how each seperate fishing group is putting their own spin on this issue , as seeing the RFA ia saying its removing all but 1 percent from reef total , when the Northern reefs are going to have all of that gear in total .
The same would be true with the older bill. Anyone telling you otherwise would be incorrect.

Quote:
and saying the reefs are most utilized in may to October 1 when the reefs are used alot more for Blackfish in November and December seems like the RFA is really starting to pick only what they want to see in the bills , and not what benefits everyone .
The facts would support the RFA stance and not yours. The level of effort and participation in this state and most every other state in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions is May through September. You would be hard pressed to see more boats on the reefs or anywhere else in Oct. or november.

Boats fluke and sea bass fishing on the reefs in the spring and summer outnumber the total number of boats even in the water in october and november.

Sorry, but your statement flies in the face of what most fishermen already know and what every stat you can think of says.

More people fishing the reefs in the fall and winter??? Nope, not in this state.

Quote:
Looks like I will be joining the guys to rethink whether the RFA is actually working to benefit everyone here equally or just those that have their own agenda
Perhaps now that you have some of the facts you will reconsider that position.

By the way, I have not even read the bill so i cannot say if I support it. I am only commenting on your comments, which have nothing to do with the bill itself and are also not supported by the facts.

Last edited by CaptTB; 03-09-2012 at 06:14 PM..
  #6  
Old 03-09-2012, 06:42 PM
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Default Re: New Legislation to remove gear from 99% of New Jersey's reef sites

Tony , its my understanding that while the other reefs are not considered state waters because of being over three miles fom shore , there is a clause in there allowing NJ jurisdiction over them because of maintaining them ETC .


Fishing on or near both the reefs in question for most of the year I am SURE they are utilized by MANY more boats in November and December for the blackfish season .
They are used some by fluke, sea bass and porgy fisherman , but NOTHING like they are during the open blackfish season where I would expect there may be as many as ten times the boats frequenting those reefs.

Now if you said there was more traffic say pertaining to the Sea Girt reef, by fluke fisherman and sea bass I would agree.
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  #7  
Old 03-09-2012, 07:15 PM
captadamnj captadamnj is offline
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Default Re: New Legislation to remove gear from 99% of New Jersey's reef sites

[QUOTE=hammer4reel]They are used some by fluke, sea bass and porgy fisherman , but NOTHING like they are during the open blackfish season where I would expect there may be as many as ten times the boats frequenting those reefs.
QUOTE]

If the gear isn't on the structure then it shouldn't be a problem. That's the point of this legislation, keep fixed gear off structure. And then for the areas it is allowed, restrict fish pots from those areas as well during the predominant drifting months.
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Last edited by captadamnj; 03-09-2012 at 07:18 PM..
  #8  
Old 03-09-2012, 07:29 PM
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Default Re: New Legislation to remove gear from 99% of New Jersey's reef sites

[QUOTE=captadamnj]
Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer4reel
They are used some by fluke, sea bass and porgy fisherman , but NOTHING like they are during the open blackfish season where I would expect there may be as many as ten times the boats frequenting those reefs.
QUOTE]

If the gear isn't on the structure then it shouldn't be a problem. That's the point of this legislation, keep fixed gear off structure. And then for the areas it is allowed, restrict fish pots from those areas as well during the predominant drifting months.

the RFA newsletter as well as yours and Franks writings here says removal of gear by (99%) the bill says 10-25%, so which is it 90 % or 99% as everything the RFA has written here and in Emails has both numbers in the same document, since the whole reef is NOT covered by structure , covering 25% of the structure will probably be equal to over HALF of 50% of the reef site, as they will not be setting gear in the sand.

Allowing that gear to be on the reef site when it is UTILIZED daily by hundreds of boats during the fall blackfish season means it WILL be in our way while anchoring the boats
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  #9  
Old 03-09-2012, 07:50 PM
CaptTB CaptTB is offline
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Default Re: New Legislation to remove gear from 99% of New Jersey's reef sites

Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer4reel
Tony , its my understanding that while the other reefs are not considered state waters because of being over three miles fom shore , there is a clause in there allowing NJ jurisdiction over them because of maintaining them ETC .
Which does not alter the fact that the only way legislation can affect the reefs in federal waters is to get them declared SMZ's (Special Management Zones)

The only way to get them designated as SMZ's is through the MAFMC.

There is no piece of NJ STATE legislation that can make this happen to reefs in FEDERAL waters, period.

If you remember when the push last year was on for the prior reef bill in NJ there was much talk about how DE was going to the MAFMC to request SMZ status for their reefs and wouldn't it be nice if NJ could too.

JCAA, NJOA, Reef Rescue and others were the ones making the point.


Again, I am only addressing the points you made, not the bill since I still have not had time to read it (went and ate dinner after my last post)
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:50 PM
captadamnj captadamnj is offline
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Default Re: New Legislation to remove gear from 99% of New Jersey's reef sites

Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer4reel
covering 25% of the structure will probably be equal to over HALF of 50% of the reef site, as they will not be setting gear in the sand
No, simply not true. if you read the coordinates and look at the reef charts, you will see that only a couple dozen out of hundreds of patch reefs would be included in areas that would allow fixed gear, and we are working to further reduce that number. The gear would be allowed on parts of the reefs where limited materials have been deployed.
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Last edited by captadamnj; 03-09-2012 at 08:06 PM..
 


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