ALBANO, MILAM, RILEY & MORIARTY BILL TO ENSURE FREE RECREATIONAL SALTWATER FISHING IN NEW JERSEY ADVANCES IN SENATE

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Nelson Albano, Matt Milam, Celeste Riley and Paul Moriarty sponsored to ensure free recreational saltwater fishing continues in New Jersey was advanced Thursday by a Senate panel.
The bill (A-823) answers a federal law that authorized the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to collect a fee beginning in 2011 to cover costs associated with a new saltwater angler registry.
“The idea that fisherman should have to pay to use the open ocean is absurd,” said Milam (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “This has always been free in New Jersey and should remain that way forever.”
“New Jersey is expensive enough without charging people looking for fun and relaxation to fish the open sea,” said Albano (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “Fish conservation and management is a smart thing, but we don’t need to be charging saltwater anglers to make it reality.”
“People should not be charged for the right to fish in the open sea,” said Riley (Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “This bill is just commonsense.”
“The bill would direct the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to establish a registry program for saltwater recreational anglers to comply with federal law, but specify the state cannot charge a registration fee,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “That a reasonable approach and the right thing to do.”
In 2007, Congress reauthorized a fish conservation and management act that directed a National Saltwater Angler Registry be established. The registry is meant to identify all saltwater anglers to obtain more accurate information to improve fisheries management.
Anglers will be exempt from the federal registry if a state has its own registration or system, but New Jersey has neither, so state anglers would be required to register with the federal government if there’s no program in place by year’s end.
The bill was approved 54-16 by the Assembly in March and released Thursday by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.