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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

January 3, 2008 -- Reef Bill needs your voice --

Thursday, January 03, 2008:

Damn it’s cold, made doubly raw by the nearness of zero-rated wind chill on the heels of 50-degree air temps only a couple days ago. As noted in yesterday’s blog, wait until you see some of the air temps next week, when we could see record breaking high temps. I’ll bet anything this fairly severe flu/cold/unknown bug that’s been traveling the local nasal circuit will love all that body-straining weather switching.

Reef Bill Update:

Per the RFA:

Reef Bill Passes Unanimously through NJ Senate

Trenton, NJ, January 3, 2008- The New Jersey Artificial Reef Bill, S-2635, passed unanimously out of the New Jersey Senate today and is one step closer to the Governor's desk. This important bill has been fiercely opposed by commercial fish lobbyists who want to keep their clients fishing thousands of pots and traps on New Jersey's artificial reefs.”

However, that is only half the legislative process. The assembly has yet to vote on the bill.

Per the BHM&TC:

“Assemblyman Speaker Roberts still has not posted Bill A3986 for a vote in the Assembly. He is stalling. If the Bill is not posted for a vote it will die on Monday 1/7/08 and we will need to start from scratch all over again in 2008! Save the REEFS NOW!”

BHM&TC suggests:

“Call or Fax Speaker Roberts NOW!

DO NOT PUT THIS OFF. CALL NOW!

Ask him to post A3986 for a vote!

Assemblyman Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr.

fax: 856-742-1831,

phone 856 742-7600.”

BILL BLOG: I tried to get hold of my contacts in Trenton to see the likelihood – or lack of same – that the Pot Fishing Bill would reach the assembly floor before the rapidly approaching winter recess of the Legislature. All I got, in a round about way, is it’s a coin flip, 50-50 chance that a vote will be taken. It is very instrumental to make those calls and emails to show the assembly that this issue will not just go away.

While there is definitely some hesitancy by legislators to address the bill because of commercial fishing pressures opposing it, I honestly think it’s just as much a case that the fishing-oriented angle of this proposed legislation is simply not high on the list of priorities among lawmakers, especially when juxtaposed to addressing school funding reform and such.

Despite some real show of voting muscle by anglers, the power of sportsman’s vote apparently hasn’t reached the nerve endings of many elected officials. We’ll have to open their eyes way-wide this coming year: Ignore our angling issues and we’ll ignore voting you back into office.

As most of you know, a failure by the full Legislature to vote on this bill before the recess will push everything back to square one. For 2008, the bill will have to be rewritten – mainly just some date changes unless larger changes in verbiage are needed – and reintroduced into committees`, senate and assembly. Even following that proper process, anglers could get the run-around from the other direction. When the Legislature returns to session, leaders could say they have a load of very important held-over issues that supersede action on some artificial reef matter. That’s when we begin rattling the reelection cages.

For now, make that contact with Assemblyman Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr.

Views: 30

Comment by Brendan S. Graham on January 3, 2008 at 9:15pm
Thank God. I hope that the assembly passes the bill as well. If there wasn't already enough amo for most of your readers to act on this, i have some more to add. I was wreck fishing this past weekend on sunday the 30th on the LE Reef ,and was apauled by the amount of high fliers on the reef site. It was disgusting. The fishing was terrible, with only 3 keepers coming into the boat. Any of the larger wrecks out there were surrounded by pots. We gave up there, figuring that most of the fish were probably stuck in those traps. Going offshore on the reef we had to keep a CLOSE watch on the fliers and small buoys with NO FLIERS scattered all over the reef.
We went off alittle further to a deeper wreck in about 70 feet of water. No pots around this wreck at all. We had fish right away and started to put together a decent catch. A commercial boat was off in the distance headed in our direction. As he got closer, we noticed that his course was DIRECTLY at my boat. My first thought was "I hope the guy isn't sleeping at the wheel." i was anchored, and if that was the case, he would've slammed right into us. When he was within about 500 yards, i got on the vhf and asked him to please change his course. He did, but by that time he was within a couple hundred yards - too close if you ask me. Aside from that disrespect, he came right up to my starboard and proceeded to drop a string of 20 pots. We saw the boat name, it was a downeast Beal type boat with a blue hull and it was called RUTHLESS!!!!! How aprapos! Then he went to my port and dumped another string. My 10 year old daughter was telling me to "curse those guys out Dad! - that is wrong!" If she wasn't there i might've....but it still would've been in vane...but after all we weren't on the reef so I guess it's fair game if there's such a thing with those fuckin death trap fish pots.
After the wind and rain picked up we called it a day. On the way home we ran across the reef again where we came across the RUTHLESS (out of AC) picking up the pots that were all over the LE Reef. I wonder if they were even his pots really, cause the boat no way could hold all those pots if there was 20 per string.

The fish have no chance, and if this is continues, those reefs will be unfishable in 10 years. They'll either be void of keepable fish or so littered with dead pots that its impossible to anchor.

Assemblyman Roberts apparantly has to see first hand how much this will affect his reputation before he makes the decision to NOT LINE HIS POCKETS WITH MONEY FROM GREEDY COMMERCIAL FISHING LOBBYISTS! I can only beg all of your readers to PLEASE FAX THE NUMBER THAT YOU READ ON THIS SITE. EVERY FAX MAKES A DIFFERENCE. If you want your kids and grand kids to enjoy the benefits of these reefs that RECREATIONAL FISHERMAN PAID FOR, you MUST take action NOW.

Ok. thats my rant du jour.

take it easy Jay.

B
Comment by Hank Korker on January 4, 2008 at 12:31pm
My 2cents worth of fax has been sent.

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