Written by Jen Finn
TRENTON – Acting to protect New Jersey fishermen, the Senate yesterday approved and sent to Governor Christie legislation sponsored by Senator Van Drew that will strengthen licensing requirements for fishing menhaden – a popular baitfish that is used to catch striped bass and other fish locally, but also has been fished off New Jersey's coast by out-of-state boats for commercial use.
The Senate convened yesterday to take action on the single bill (S-2726) in order to protect local fishermen and ensure that menhaden – the fishing of which is subject to new regional limits – is available to New Jersey's commercial and recreational fishermen. The session was held in order to address what is a crucial issue for New Jersey.
"The overfishing of our coastal waters by out-of-state fishermen hurts our economy, our fishermen and cuts into our quota," said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). "We have to make sure that New Jersey's menhaden supply is available to our local fishermen and not wiped out by those from other states. This legislation is about protecting what is the lifeblood for commercial fishermen and a beloved sport for recreational fishermen in the Garden State."
Last December, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to reduce the allowable catch along the Eastern seaboard. The bill is intended to ensure that menhaden caught by out-of-state fishermen – who fish just outside of the state's jurisdiction in federal waters, three miles off the New Jersey coastline – and offloaded, or landed, in the state are not taken from New Jersey's menhaden quota.
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