Bill Would Clarify Fishing Regulations to Avoid Confusion
TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher which would simplify the State’s rules regarding striped bass fishing was unanimously approved today by the Senate Environment Committee.
“Since the State adopted new regulations on striped bass fishing in September 2004, there has been a lot of confusion on what constitutes a legal catch,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “The entire point of setting size standards and a daily catch limit is to encourage conservation of our fisheries, but when fishermen are confused about whether or not they’re in compliance with State law, that point is lost. These updated rules simplify the regulatory process, so that we can accomplish the real goal of protecting our fisheries from depletion while at the same time fostering recreational fishing in New Jersey.”
The bill, S-2450, would amend the State’s current daily catch and possession limits for striped bass fishing. Under current law, the limit is two fish, one between 24 and 28 inches and the other at least 34 inches in length. The amended regulations would change the limit to provide instead that both fish must be at least 28 inches. The bill would also allow for the taking of an additional striped bass under the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)’s “bonus fish” program, and would clarify that filleting a fish, or removing the head and tail, would require a special permit to be done at sea.
“New Jersey is fortunate to have a thriving recreational fishing industry, responsible for attracting hundreds of thousands of dollars in tourism and recreational spending,” said Senator Karcher. “We want to ensure that our State’s regulatory environment is not overly burdensome to deter sports fishermen from coming here, but strong enough to protect our natural resources for future generations. Under the new regulations, we will be able to prove that environmental and wildlife conservation and a booming recreational fishing industry are not two mutually exclusive ideals.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.