Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Sunday, March 16, 2008: Tomorrow: The bill on the moratorium on harvesting horseshoe crab will be voted on by the State Senate on Monday. There has been a veritable tidal wave of public response, mainly aimed at Trenton, after the very dubious vote by the NJMFC to remove the ban on the harvesting horseshoe crabs. As I have written about at length, it was not the specifics of the NJMFC vote that was tell-tale. We all knew already that the commercial fishing majority of the council would vote to remove the ban on harvesting the crabs. However, it came down to the embarrassing nationwide impression that vote made, leaving the state looking like a bunch of ecology-ignoring ignoramuses. The commercial fishing members of that council were so obsessed with making a statement to its industry that they paid no heed to the accompanying degradation of the state’s name and reputation. That’s huge. New Jersey is a significant player in the nation’s commercial fishing market. Creating any sort of aspersion on the state overall, damages the market that keeps the commercial sector going. It is not out of the question that Green Groups could target the state for its lifting of the horseshoe crab ban by suggesting NJ seafood products be boycotted. If you think that’s not a threat just ask any state or industry that has fallen under such a boycott. By the by, I was told behind the scenes that just such a response to resuming horseshoe harvests was being considered. I believe the NJMFC has now fully realized the far-reaching implication of its vote. It is even trying to do damage control. I’m told the council recently said it would re- impose the ban if the legislative effort to do so was dropped. Such a move is bad in its own right. It could easily be seen as an admission of fault. It’s not. What it IS: a fairly desperate effort to keep future horseshoe crab decisions in the council’s domain. I’m thinking track record along might endanger that aspiration. Once in the statute realm (i.e. state law), it will take action by the Legislature to change the law. By the by, striped bass dwell in the hold of the Legislature. Anglers should derive little pleasure from such a legislative one-upping of the NJMFC in this case. In a way, it clears the way for future Legislature-based determinations of fishery issues. Just wait until an angler-friendly NJMFC decision is made and political pressure is placed on the Legislature by powerful special interest groups and the decision is overruled. Not so much fun then. GIVES ME GAS: The pain at the pump has taken on water torture dimensions. Each and every drip does damage to one’s check account -- and one’s wits. I say that so I can attribute mental exhaustion for my dumb-as-dirt solution to $3.00-plus a gallon sticker shock. First let me say I’ve been driving for a damn long time, dating back to when I was 15 and stealing cars. Whoa! I inexplicably began talking about someone else there. I never did such felonious JD acts. OK, so maybe some of my early driving took place within vehicles of, uh, undeterminable sources. But regardless of idiosyncrasies like legal ownership, I was a great driver and a humaniarian. I always topped off the tank when I was done practicing my driving in a vehicle of unknown parentage. This leads into my bizarre, recently-devised technique to tame my pump rage. I should note that I’ve always been a typical male driver, waiting for the tank gauge needle to all but die, slumping to the sub-fume particle levels, before reluctantly pulling in for a pit stop. And, yes, I realize that isn’t purely a man-thing. There are many great gal drivers (oxymoron alert) who are willing to go a-fume before performing a pull-in. Anyway, part of my new dumb-as-it-comes method to ease angst and anger over the PPG (price per gallon) is to abandon my lifelong wait-till-empty attitude. Now, I swing into the nearest gas station at the slightest provocation. If I look down and see my gas gauge perilously perched at that alert-worthy ¾-full line, I drop whatever I’m doing – like driving – and divert to the nearest cheapy gas station. The reason is as sophomoric as it is eerily effective: I get an entire fill-up for only $20? Just like the old days.