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Old 01-27-2011, 01:40 PM
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apmaurosr apmaurosr is offline
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Default Free Saltwater Registry: Show Me the Money

Free Saltwater Registry: Show Me the Money

I've written about how we might end up taking money from one pocket and shifting it to another pocket in order to pay for the free saltwater registry. For those of you with an interest in learning more I've detailed how this is so.

During the past week I've spoken with Dave Chanda, Director Division of Fish and Wildlife for a breakdown of the Bureau of Marine Fisheries budget. I've also spoken with John Organ, Ph.D., Chief, Division of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Mr. Organ is in charge of the Sport Fish Restoration fund, a federal fund from which New Jersey receives money.

The Bureau of Marine Fisheries has a budget of approximately $3.48 million. The prior year the budget was $3.76 million. So, there is already a net loss to the budget of ($280,000).

The $ 3.48 million budget total is comprised of:

~ $1.35 million: received from the federal government (Sport Fish Restoration Act, Wallop Breaux)

~ $345,000 is generated by commercial license sales, shellfish permits, and net licenses.

~ $686,000 is provided by the state treasury through an appropriation (note: in 2009 the State appropriation was $1.97 million).

~ $1.1 million is one time funding being taken from the Nuclear Emergency Response Fund

Total Budget = $3.48 million
Prior Year budget = $3.76 million
Difference fro prior year = ($280,000)

It has been estimated that the free saltwater registry will cost $600,000 to implement and manage and was not a consideration when the budget was determined. We can see that not only has the budget decreased by $280,000 from prior year but also an additional $600,000, which was not included in the budget, will have to be taken and spent on the free saltwater registry.

According to Mr. Organ, Ph.D., federal funds (Wallop Breaux) can not be used for purposes of implementing or managing the saltwater registry. (See letter below).

According to Dave Chanda, Director, DFW, the $345,000 in commercial license sales, shellfish permit and net licenses sales are strictly used for managing the resources used by those that pay these fees.

The angling community doesn't know which marine programs will have $600,000 removed in order to pay for the costs of the free saltwater registry. The money could come from the artificial reef program. It might come from the firing of a biologist that works on species management plans for weak fish, black fish, etc. The question we should ask ourselves is whether it will impact our ability to enjoy our marine resources and to what degree?

But, it doesn't have to be this way. We can contact the Governor and request that when he signs the free saltwater registry bill he also designate a funding source that doesn't come from monies used to manage our fisheries and natural resources. He is faced with a $10.7 billion budget deficit and the pressure will be on him to take it from our fisheries programs. (A link and letter are provided for you below).

Here's a noteworthy fact: New Jersey's Marine Fisheries Bureau budget of $3.48 million budget is used to manage 130 miles of New Jersey shoreline. This budget is less than the New Hampshire marine fisheries budget, which is used to manage 13 miles of shoreline. According to USFWS data (2006) NJ ranks dead last in total State Marine funding per angler among every Atlantic Coast State.

It is no wonder the other Atlantic Coast States are in a better position to compete for Coastwide Fisheries quotas. Plus, we have a lot to lose since New Jersey's average recreational harvest ranking from 2002 - 2006 among all 14 Atlantic Coast States was # 1 for species such as summer flounder, bluefish and black sea bass and # 2 for species such as tautog and striped bass.

The other states have surely noticed that New Jersey has been slipping in its ability to manage fisheries. It is likely they are interested in obtaining some of those fish. Removing $600,000 from an already inadequate budget will give them an advantage.

The time to get engaged is now. Contact the Governor by going to the following link:

Please do not forget to use the "Tell A Friend" option and share this link with others who may not have received this call to action.

Letter stating federal funds cannot be used on the free saltwater registry:

Dear Director Chanda:

I have received inquiries from many interest groups regarding the eligibility of funding the Saltwater Angling Registry with Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Registration (DJ SFR) dollars. We have determined that this would be ineligible and would not be approved by this office. Our rationale is provided below:

The purpose of the DJ SFR Act (Title 16. Chapter 10B, Sec. 777) is for the Fish and Wildlife Service to cooperate with State fish and wildlife agencies on fish restoration and management projects. Federal Regulations under 50 CFR Part 80 identify eligible undertakings for DJ SFR as:

"Projects having as their purpose the restoration, conservation, management, and enhancement of sport fish, and the provision for public use and benefits from these resources."

50 CFR 80.13 requires projects to be substantial in character and design, having a clearly demonstrated need necessary and reasonable to meet the State's need in restoring and managing sport fish.

Based on the above, it is our determination that use of DJ SFR funds for the Saltwater Angler Registry is not eligible because it does not comport with the purpose of the Act, does not meet criteria for substantiality in character and design, and fulfills a regulatory requirement. The purpose of establishing the Registry would be to meet a requirement imposed by NMFS as opposed to a fishery management priority of the State. The high cost of this coupled with the availability of the data from NMFS for 2010 and possibly 2011 does not measure up to our substantiality criteria.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

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
300 Westgate Center Drive
Hadley, MA 01035

The number for the Governor is 1-609-292-6000

Anthony P. Mauro, Sr

New Jersey Outdoor Alliance
New Jersey Outdoor Alliance Conservation Foundation
New Jersey Outdoor Alliance Environmental Projects

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Officers: Ed Markowski, Captain Pete Grimbilas, Jerry Natale, Len Wolgast, PhD., Anthony Mauro

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