(TRENTON) – In an effort to benefit commercial fishing operations, Assemblymen Bob Andrzejczak and Bruce Land have sponsored legislation permitting commercial fishing vessels to possess more than the daily trip limit of black sea bass and summer flounder under certain conditions. The bill was advanced Thursday by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
“It is not right to limit the amount of black sea bass and summer flounder commercial fishing boats can possess, so long as they are fished in a sustainable way,” said Andrzejczak (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “As long as fishermen respect our environment and the fish they catch, we should not limit how our residents can make a living.”
“New Jersey’s fishermen pride themselves on providing the state with top-notch fish for our residents,” said Land (Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “It is not fair for us to negate their hard work, and implement unnecessary restrictions on certain fish, limiting their income.”
The bill (A-4136) would prohibit the Commissioner of Environmental Protection from limiting the amount of black sea bass or summer flounder may possess, as long as they don’t land summer flounder or black sea bass again in New Jersey for seven days after the initial pack-out.
This would include circumstances when New Jersey has a closed season for one of these two species of fish, but another state has an open season. Thus, this bill would allow vessels to unload the legal limit in New Jersey and proceed to other states to offload any additional catch that the vessel is already permitted to offload in those states.
Additionally, any of these boats must have Boatracs – a satellite communication system for commercial fishing vessels.
The bill now moves on to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.