In an effort to benefit commercial fishing operations, Assemblymen Bruce Land and Matthew Milam 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 approved Thursday by the full Assembly, 75-0-1.
“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.”
“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 Milam (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.”
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 will now go to the Senate for further consideration.