Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Monday, January 03, 2011: Well, the snowmelt is pretty much at a standstill, despite the bright sun. It’s chilly and dry (low humidity), which isn’t a fast-melt scenario.
I’m getting word of a nasty stomach “virus” going around. As kids get back into school, the bug will rapidly spread, so keep your hands and nose clean. That hand/touch factor remains far and away the number one transmission route. I swear by Airborne,
the effervescent high vitamin drink invented by a teacher. There are also generic equivalents.
I get one of those incredulous chuckles when I recall the way the pharmaceutical industry at first fully panned, actually ridiculed, the concept behind that teacher’s high-vitamin bubbly approach to cold prevention, Damn if all the biggest drug companies
don’t now have their own versions – after dangling millions to buy that original formula.
I got three emails regarding the now infamous federal registry -- and whether the NJ bill to sidestep a for-pay registry, i.e. a saltwater fishing license, has passed the state Legislature.
No, it didn’t pass but was instead sent back to the Assembly for that body to ponder some proposed amendments to the bill. I do not know what those amendments are. Hey, Hutch Jr, if you’re reading this, can you let me know what the amendment tweaks are?
The delay was no huge surprise to me – and it doesn’t mean the bill is dead, per se. Its timeframe, on the other hand, is in deep question.
It’s hard to say whether the bump in the road for the legislation was a bona fide need to tweak some legal points or a hostile move. “Hostile” could be an effort by opponents to point out the money a “free” registry could cost the state, or, to highlight
a missed opportunity to gain funding for the likes of the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Again, I have no insights short of what I heard the proposed legislation was facing all along.
Many folks were so sure the “free license” would pass in N.J. they didn’t jump at the chance to register for free before Jan 1, 2010. You snooze, you lose.
Interestingly, there is no penalty structure established for anyone caught fishing who has failed to register. Even though I read in a local daily newspaper that this year is an “educational” period, that was the exact status we experienced last year. I
have to think the screws will get turned tighter, in some way, this year.
Suspicion on my part: The feds do not want to handle individual state registrations, even though the Magnuson Act dictates that any state that doesn’t have a registry in place defaults to a federally-run program. In that instance, every saltwater
angler in a place like New Jersey would pays $15 to the federal government to handle the registration – and the paperwork, including license writing and distribution. That would also mean any overages – money above and beyond secretarial
costs – would stay in D.C., so to speak. It seems to me that many/most states quickly capitulated and created a license, not wanting the feds to get that extra money. This was just what the feds secretly wanted.
Boat rockers like N.J. could prove problematic to the feds. That is why they want to handle any registry violators with kid gloves – allowing N.J. to eventually play nice and take on the registry responsibility.
Remember, that even when (and now “if”) the free-state legislation passes, the registry process must go on, with the state handling all the registering paperwork. The feds will be doing all the data taking, via phone calls and dockside monitoring. The numbers it tabulates will instantly go to fishery management.