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Continued Inaction Will Shutter Industry; Cost Jobs & Damage Tourism

(VINELAND) — Senator Jeff Van Drew and Assemblymen Nelson T. Albano and Matthew W. Milam on Tuesday called on Gov. Chris Christie to take swift action to prevent New Jersey’s shark fisheries from being shut down.

“The last thing we can afford in these difficult economic times is the loss of jobs due to government inaction,” said Van Drew. “We are urging Gov. Christie — as we urged then-Gov. Corzine — to take the appropriate actions to ensure that New Jersey’s shark fisheries remain open.”

According to news reports, the state’s shark management plan was ruled out of compliance last week by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). The ASMFC ruled that New Jersey has not implemented regulations of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Costal Sharks, which provides fishing guidelines designed to balance economic and environmental interests: rebuilding struggling shark species populations while still allowing for commercial and recreational fishing of the animals.

“Residents across South Jersey and the rest of the state rely on New Jersey’s shark fisheries to put food on their table and money in their pocket,” said Albano. “We cannot allow this industry to be shuttered because of bureaucratic delays.”

According to the New Jersey chapter of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, a report to bring the state’s shark fisheries back into compliance has been ready for publication since fall 2009, pending approval by the governor.

“We cannot allow this vital piece of the state’s economic engine to stall,” said Milam. “Too many things — from the immediate financial well being of South Jersey families to the continued viability of the state’s fishing tourism — depend on a continually operating shark fishing industry.”

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