Friday, January 07, 2011:
NJ is that close to becoming a free state when it comes to the federal registry. Those small tweaks that had to be done by the Assembly on its version of the bill – to align with the final draft presented by the state senate—are done. It’s off to the governor who has said the passage is a sure-thing.
Here’s the latest release from RFA: The New Jersey Assembly today voted today (65-8-3) on a slight technical amendment in Assembly Bill 823 (A823), officially placing New Jersey's free saltwater registration onto the Governor's desk for his final signature. "A823 needed a simple procedural vote in order to bring it into perfect alignment with its Senate companion bill, S1122," said Jim Donofrio, Executive Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA).
"There's been a lot of debate and considerable confusion within the community, but our coastal anglers should take comfort in knowing that this procedural vote in the Assembly will ensure that longstanding Fish & Game Code specifications are kept intact, to the benefit of coastal fishermen," he added.
The RFA has also sent a personal fax to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, respectfully urging his support of A823/S1122 and asking that he signs the bills into law as quickly as possible. "We've been in constant contact with the Governor's office with regard to these bills, but now it's go time," said Donofrio, adding, "Saltwater fishermen who are hoping to see this registry legislation passed are certainly encouraged to do their part as well by respectfully contacting the Governor's office in support of the legislation."
When this is signed it’ll be an amazing accomplishment by RFA. I have to think that someone somewhere is going to foot the bill for the effort of registering all those fishing in the Garden State’s marine water. It’s amazing RFA got this through a beyond-frugal Legislature and onto the desk of a nationally-acclaimed penny pinching governor. But the folks in Trenton must have seen the huge value in keeping the registry free in N.J. – by simultaneously seeing the extreme worth of the industry via bait and tackle shop sales, boating-related sales, hotel/motel rentals, and family-related activities related to anglers’ families. The revenue the state realizes from those activities makes a free saltwater registry/license a steal.
I’m still hearing that some folks are convinced this “free” means there will be no registry in Jersey – and that you won’t have to have what amounts to a license to fish here. If that’s true, I’m getting some bad information right from the offices of National Saltwater Registry, where higher-ups tell me anyone fishing in N.J. this year MUST be registered with the saltwater registry either in Jersey or in another state. Obviously the key word for N.J. is “free” when it comes to registering.
I did have one question stump me regarding the registry, namely, whether the tons of us who already registered with the feds for this year (2011) should also register with N.J. once the system of registration is established. Obviously that doesn’t have to be done but are there any benefits or possible hazards in doing so? I’ll be calling folks on that.