By Art Gallagher
Remember back in September when Frank Pallone held a press conference in Keyport to announce the $400 million he was bringing home to the bayshore with the Coastal Jobs Creation Act? The Asbury Park Press covered it as if it were a done deal and Pallone was a hero.
In August Pallone told the NY Post’s Ken Moran that the bill would fund New Jersey’s recreational fishing registry, thereby preventing fisherman to have to pay a federal fee of $15-25 per year to fish in saltwater off New Jersey.
Well, here we are in December and there has been no movement on Pallone’s bill since July, two months before his press conference that impressed the Neptune Nudniks so much.
But the federal fee is coming, unless the New Jersey Senate passes S-1122, the companion version of which has already been passed by the Assembly, according to an Asbury Park Press piece that failed to mention the Pallone connection.
S1122, which is sponsored by Senators Jennifer Beck and Jeff Van Drew, would require the NJ DEP to set up a free state registery for recreational fisherman and to apply for “exempted state designation” so that NJ fisherman would not have to participate in or pay for the federal program. S1122 also allows the state to impose a state saltwater recreational fishing license, which is currently prohibited.
According the the NJ Recreational Fishing Alliance, the bill has strong bi-partisan support, but Senator Robert Smith, D-Middlesex, Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee won’t release the bill for a vote by the full Senate because the DEP does not want to create the state registery.
RFA makes their case for the bill, including an ecomomic impact analysis here.