Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Monday Jan. 28, 08 -- Reef/Pot Bill refires --

Monday, January 28, 2008: There is actually a load of fishing issues flying in all direction, virtually all having to do with either regulations or Trenton stuff.

First, the entire Save the Reefs/Pot Bill rigmarole is firing up again. Fully expected. Nothing has changed for anglers wanting to rid their reefs of fish pots and tarps.

Heartily heartened by the fact the state senate, at the end of he last 2007 session, was unanimously in favor of stopping any commercial fishing on the reefs, anglers groups are now eying (sometimes with bad intent) the state assembly.

As you recall, the full assembly never got to vote on the issue due to its failing to reach the floor by session’s end, never being posted by Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, Jr. (D-Bellmawr, Camden County).

Angered over that seeming slight, there were some serious stares being thrown at certain assemblypersons, based on reports that many were siding with the commercialites and purposely keeping the reef bill from a full assembly vote.

I was one of the few writers to offer at least the possibility that other issues took precedent over the reef issue. Sure, I sensed some sneaky politics in the failed effort to get the bill voted on by session’s ended, but I still stand by my conviction that it is better to minimize the finger-pointing, knowing we will need loads of assembly support his year. Sometimes, badmouthing certain legislators gets all their panties in a bunch, to the point some will even vote against bills they might have otherwise supported.

I always liked the African saying, “Don’t insult the crocodile until you’ve crossed the river.”

The river between the reef bill and passage isn’t that wide. It really seems like the bill has the support get through the house and to the governor’s desk. And time is on our side. Public supporters of the bill have the opportunity to address nonsupportive assemblypersons, letting them know what awaits them politically should they oppose the bill. No, that is not the same as badmouthing them. In fact, that sort of constituency pressure is the way the system is supposed to be run.

The JCAA is funding a scientific study to refute some of the science being used by the feds in managing summer flounder. Please check out the details at: http://www.jcaa.org/jcnl0802/0802FMLR.htm#Flounder

At the same time, RFA has gone a more dubious route, trying to get the Magnuson-Steven Act modified to make the deadline for species recoveries more practical. I just hate the thought of showing one and all how easy it is to change this incredibly vital legislation. However, as I’ve written in here, I believe it is time to bite the honesty bullet and say current recovery schedules could prove fatal to too many jobs and a longer recovery time should be set.

The distinction in my plan is to make absolutely certain that we’re admitting the inconsistency between rapid conservation and what needs to be done to saves jobs while still allowing the eventual recovery of a fishery. I think that move leaves less room for lawsuits -- and doesn’t make anglers look like they’re putting their heads in sand when it comes to admitting the need to save the fish.

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