Fisheries Management & Legislative Report
by Tom Fote
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association June 2005 Newsletter)
FUNDING NEW JERSEY’S FISHERIES
There have been some very productive meetings about the budget crisis at the Division of Fish and Wildlife. When I met with John McCormac, (State Treasurer), he responded positively to our concerns and was familiar with the problems at DEP. We also had a great information day at the State House discussing these issues with many of our legislators. The responses were very positive. The coalition, which included JCAA, has scheduled many meetings for the next few weeks to eliminate this short-term budget problem. Once we deal with the short-term crisis, it is important to look for a long-term solution and a stable funding source for both the Division of Fish and Wildlife and the Division of Parks. We will keep you updated about this important issue. If you would like to serve on this committee, please let us know.
Mercury Switch-Removal Bill Enactment
JCAA was part of a coalition that challenged the big three U.S. automakers and forced them to help pay for the removal of mercury switches before their cars are recycled. Foreign manufacturers removed all mercury switches beginning in 1992. U.S. automakers had steadfastly refused to make this change. This change will go a long way in reducing the mercury that NJ releases into the atmosphere. The scrap industry in NJ produces abou t 25% of the mercury released into the atmosphere in NJ. I would like to thank Commissioner Campbell and Senator Sweeney for their leadership in developing and passing this legislation.
This was an interesting coalition. We had foundries, junkyards, environmentalists, fishermen and politicians all working together to make the big three automakers pay their fair share and clean up the problem they created.
I would be remiss if I did not point out that, although this legislation will help reduce the 25% the recycling industry contributes to our mercury problem, we have come no where near solving this problem. New Jersey is taking major steps to reduce mercury contamination with hard work and commitment from Governor Codey, Commissioner Campbell and the NJ Legislature. However, most of our mercury contamination comes from out of state and a national commitment is the only way to deal with this problem. The current leadership in Washington has done nothing to help solve this problem and, even more disappointing, has supported actions that make the problem worse. Thankfully, the 11 states along the East coast that are most affected by the Midwestern power plants are now suing President Bush and the EPA to stop implementation of the new regulations. It would be helpful if President Bush would look at the example New Jersey is setting and implement these steps throughout the country.
The members of the coalition are listed at the end of the press release.
Brill Public Affairs
479 West State St., Trenton, NJ 08618 - 609-577-9017
7 Williams Lane, Yardley, PA 19067 - 609-295-9339
March 23, 2005
For Immediate Release
New Jersey Steel Industry/Environmental Coalition
Applauds Mercury Switch-Removal Bill Enactment
Members of the New Jersey Partnership for Mercury-Free Vehicles today hailed Governor Richard J. Codey’s signing of A-2482/S-1292, legislation requiring the removal of mercury switches from scrapped vehicles before they are melted down in steel mills and foundries to produce new products.
The Partnership, which comprises the state’s steel recycling and steel manufacturing industries, leading environmental organizations and fishing enthusiasts, was instrumental in advocating for passage of the legislation over the objections of the national auto manufacturers’ lobby.
“Once again, New Jersey has proven to be a leader in reducing mercury emissions at a time of importance to industry, the environment and public health,” said Amy Goldsmith, Executive Director of the New Jersey Environmental Federation.
NY/NJ Baykeeper Andrew Willner noted that New Jersey’s Legislature was only the second state in the nation, after Maine, to mandate a program for mercury switch removals. (Arkansas subsequently passed similar legislation). “We all recognized the damage that is being done to our waterways and wildlife and agreed that action could not be delayed,” the Baykeeper said. “Fortunately, our Legislature and Governor agreed.”
Fred Cornell, president of the state chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, said that, without the new law, the state’s three foundries and two steel mills would have been hard pressed to meet strict new emission standards for mercury that the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is in the process of implementing.
“Rather than force each steelmaker to add tens of millions of dollars worth of unproven technology trying to capture mercury after the steel is melted, this law takes the common sense, pollution-prevention approach,” he said. “It creates a low-cost program to remove mercury from commerce before it becomes a serious problem for industry and the environment.”
Under the new law, auto switches will be removed at recycling yards before end-of-life vehicles are crushed and sent to mills and foundries. Auto manufacturers are required to reimburse yard operators $2 per switch to cover labor, storage and reporting costs. The DEP is responsible for enforcing the program and can levy fines for violations.
“Auto recycling operators like me find ourselves legally responsible for solving a problem that we did not create,” said Morris Silberman, executive vice president of the Automotive Recyclers Association of New Jersey. “But we also know that the role we will play under the new law will make a significant contribution to the health of all New Jerseyans.”
Tom Fote, Legislative Chairman for the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, said his organization was happy to support the legislation since it will have a positive impact on New Jersey’s multi-billion-dollar recreational and commercial fishing industries.
“We want clean water and healthy fish and this bill will help reduce mercury contamination which is a threat to both,” he said.
Partnership members include:
Jersey Coast Anglers Association, NJ Environmental Federation, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Environmental Defense, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Automotive Recyclers Association of NJ, Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co., Camden Iron and Metal, Gerdau Ameristeel/Perth Amboy and Sayreville, Griffin Pipe Products Company, Hugo Neu Schnitzer East, Metal Management, Inc. and U.S. Pipe & Foundry Company.
For more information contact:
Fred Cornell – 201-577-3219
Frank Brill – 609-577-9017
ASMFC MEETING SUMMARY
The ASMFC met the week of May 9th and some of the board meeting summaries are below. To get the full summary go to www.asmfc.org.
Bruce Freeman and I fought hard to use a 43% conservation equivalency, but the Winter Flounder Board turned down NJ’s proposal. The state will have to go back to the drawing board for the winter flounder recreational measures. We will have to present those measures at the August meeting.
Most significant is the list of things that remain undecided. I included the report from the Eel Board but there was no discussion about the public hearing document. That will be discussed in August.
There was also no discussion on the status of the striped bass stocks even though the increase in recreational catch off North Carolina in waves 6 and 1 of the marine recreational survey was discussed briefly. We also found that Virginia is probably having the same increased fishery but it is not evident in the sampling yet. These matters will be discussed at the August meeting.
August will be a busy month. There will be a joint meeting of ASMFC and the MAFMC to look at the status of the stocks of scup, seabass, summer flounder and bluefish. The ASMFC will be meeting to look at the preliminary striped bass stock assessment, reducing the weakfish mortality, and review the menhaden plan that is going to public hearings.
There is a press release below about the sinking of a tanker to be part of the artificial reef. We would like to thank Commissioner Campbell for helping to secure the money for the sinking of this boat and the ones to come. The artificial reef program in New Jersey is an important part of the marine recreational fishing experience. Studies have shown that up to 40% of the fish taken home for personal consumption comes from artificial reefs. Many of the species that inhabit the reef have larger bag limits and are favorites for table fare.
SCUP AND BLACK SEA BASS MANAGEMENT BOARD
12” minimum size limit
6.5” minimum square or diamond mesh size in codend (consistent with EEZ regulations)
Maintenance of existing seasonal closures
12” minimum size limit
8 fish/day bag limit
No required closed seasons
Southern New England/
12” minimum size limit
6.5” minimum square or diamond mesh in codend (including 100 lb. Trip limit if smaller mesh is used)
Maintenance of existing seasonal closures
12” minimum size limit
10 fish/day bag limit
60 day open season split into no more than 2 blocks (20 days must be closed during March and April)
State plans must be implemented by July 31, 2005. Annual compliance reports will be due on November 1 of each year, beginning in 2006. For more information, please contact Ruth Christiansen, FMP Coordinator, at (202) 289-6400 or email@example.com.
Draft Addendum II to the Atlantic Menhaden FMP Approved for Public Comment
States to Conduct Public Meetings this Summer
Alexandria, VA – The Commission’s Atlantic Menhaden Management Board approved sending forward Draft Addendum II to Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden for public comment and review. Most states will be conducting public hearings on the Addendum this summer; the times and locations of those hearings will be released once they become available.
The Draft Addendum was developed in response to concern regarding the possibility of localized depletion of menhaden stocks in the Chesapeake Bay. It presents a suite of management options to limit the catch of menhaden in both the Chesapeake Bay and coastwide, including various harvest caps, timeframes, and gears.
The Draft Addendum also proposes initiating a research program immediately to determine the status of menhaden populations in the Chesapeake Bay and assess whether localized depletion is occurring. It identifies the following research priorities: (1) determine menhaden abundance in the Chesapeake Bay; (2) determine estimates of menhaden removal by predators; (3) evaluate the rate of exchange of menhaden between the Bay and coastal systems; and (4) conduct larval studies to determine recruitment to the Bay. The Board will meet in August to review public comment on the Draft Addendum and consider its final approval. Copies the Draft Addendum will be available by the end of May and can be obtained via the Commission’s website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at (202) 289-6400. Public comment will be accepted until mid-July and should be forward to Nancy Wallace Atlantic Menhaden Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 1444 ‘Eye’ Street, NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005; (202)289-6051 (fax) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Subject line: Menhaden). For more information, please contact Nancy Wallace at (202)289-6400 or email@example.com.
The Sea-River Newsletters
The eel is well known by the general public, but do they know that this species is endangered? If emergency measures are not taken quickly, eels could well slip between our fingers one last time. Patrick Lambert, an engineer at the Cemagref laboratories in Bordeaux, has been fascinated by this species for years. His research has led him to create models to simulate the dynamics of the eel population as closely as possible. This objective is an ambitious one: simulating the change in eel populations following different scenarios to help define efficient management methods.
A single European supply
All eels are born at the same place: the Sargasso Sea, south of Florida. Helped by ocean currents, the leptocephalus larvae swim about 6000 km across the Atlantic Ocean. Before reaching the European coasts, the larva are metamorphosed into elvers, progressively looking like transparent eels only a few centimeters long. Then they colonize the continental waters. Along the coasts of southern Europe, the elvers are subjected to intense fishing, for they are at the heart of a strong local cooking tradition. They are also exported towards Northern Europe to stock local fisheries, and for the past few years towards Asian fish farms. As they transform into yellow eels, they become settled in estuaries or they swim upstream in the rivers. After roughly 10 years of growth (a little less for males, a little more for females), the yellow eels metamorphose into silver eels. They stop eating, take on a silver coloration, and the eyes become bigger, In short, the eel prepares for its migration into deep waters for reproduction. The silver eel goes downstream and continues its migration in the opposite direction to the Sargasso Sea. A decreasing population since the 1970s in France, the alarm was first sounded in 1984. Since then, the supply of eels has continuously declined. It is reported that the eel population has been divided by 10 in 20 years, making people fear the worst for the years to come. Measures should be taken in terms of fish stocks and replacement management. In 1998, following the positions taken by European scientists, the CIEM (International Committee for the Exploration of the Sea) and the FAO considered that the supply of eels was outside its biological limits and that the fisheries could no longer be sustained. In 2004, the European Union took up the issue. The EU Council recommended emergency measures while setting up a management plan. Closing fishing activity for one month during the high season has even been considered, with the risk of jeopardizing most small-scale fishery businesses in the estuaries. But, for the time being, no decision has been taken by the European Commission on either the status of the eel or its management.
Eels: the victims of all evils
Fishing is an appreciable factor in the decline of the eel population. Thus, in some estuaries, such as the Vilaine River, which is closed by a dam, the elver catch rate is about 95%. An exploitation rate ranging from 10% to 15% is estimated in the elvers which were taken in freshwaters and the 10% of yellow eels, and even the catching of silver eels, it adds up to a considerable sum. However, fishing is neither the only factor nor necessarily the most important. Thus scientists have evaluated that the number of Sargasso Sea sires was too low to maintain healthy reproduction rates. Migratory problems are also at issue, both coming and going across the seas. On the outward journey, higher mortality of the leptocephalus larva due to the alterations of the ocean currents is feared. On the journey back, it is a parasite (anguillicola) which may be disturbing their sea migration. There are others to be blamed, not the least of which are the dams preventing access to the entire catchments and trapping eels in the turbines on their downward journey, as well as the decline of wetland areas, meaning less of the habitat where they grow. Finally, the eels seem particularly sensitive to pesticides. The accumulation of toxic substances may also be reducing their reproductive potential. Patick Lambert refrains from ranking these potential causes of extinction. They are all preoccupying. It will be necessary to act wherever it is possible.
The role of research: contribute reliable measures for protection and management
With the objective of providing reliable measures for protection and management of the eel problem, Patrick Lambert has designed a model providing a global vision of the eel population in a catchment. The aim is to calculate the production of silver eels from the numbers of elvers arriving. The model integrates the main biological processes, ageing, sexual differentiation and sex determinism, preparation for the journey back to the reproduction area, the natural death rate and the eel’s journey. This model has made it possible to explore the influence of the density of eels on some of the processes (death rate, sex determinism and migrations), an influence which noticeably complicates the dynamics of the population. Other mechanisms can also be added to make the model suitable for a given situation, such as death rates caused by human intervention or the impact of dams. Designed in a generic way in order to adapt to as many situations as possible, it is intended to be used by managers as a decision-making tool to test various scenarios. Before reaching this ambitious aim, Patrick Lambert hopes that this model will be able to help train managers and make them aware of the problem. It is a way to put them in a real-life situation.
The next stop will be the application of the model to various catchments, particularly to the Gironde catchment, to test it against reality and thereby improve it. This type of model will allow scientists to help managers elaborate measures of efficient management. However, the ball is already in the court of international organizations and politicians who have to make the decisions.
New Program Provides Reef Materials as Part of Governor’s “Coast 2005”Initiative
(05/60) BARNEGAT LIGHT - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today deployed a decommissioned navy tanker on the state’s Garden State North artificial reef site. The deployment will help to improve New Jersey’s artificial reefs and is one of the programs recently announced in Acting Governor Richard J. Codey’s “Coast 2005” initiative.
“The Jersey Shore is one of our greatest natural resources and most important economic engines,” Governor Codey said. “Today’s artificial reef deployment reaffirms the commitment I made in my coastal initiative to improve coastal resources and to ensure that the shore remains a quality part of the Jersey experience for future generations.”
“Our artificial reef program provides tremendous benefits to fishermen, divers, and our shore economy, while also providing new marine habitat,” said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. “New Jersey is a national leader in artificial reef management and we remain committed to enhancing these reef sites for the dual benefit of our environment and economy.”
DEP acquired the tanker, which will be called the Helis, through a $100,000 appropriation that will also allow the state to acquire two other decommissioned ships. The state will deploy the other ships later this year. DEP is placing the three ships at reefs along the entire Jersey coast so that as many residents as possible can enjoy the benefits of these new acquisitions.
Artificial reefs play an important role in supporting New Jersey’s marine fishing and diving industries, whose activities on the reefs alone generate more than $50 million and overall provide more than $850 million to New Jersey’s economy. In one study, DEP determined that one out of every five fish caught by recreational anglers in New Jersey’s marine waters during 2000 was caught on a reef site.
Last month, Governor Codey announced his “Coast 2005” initiative, which includes a variety of programs designed to enhance coastal water quality and improve coastal ecosystems. Aside from the reef building program, the initiative includes new standards for maintenance and inspection of sewer systems to help prevent spills from polluting New Jersey’s waters; $30 million in grant funding to assist municipalities in developing storm water management plans; and strengthening of coastal zone restrictions for offshore oil and gas development.
The DEP initiated its ocean reef building program in 1984, establishing over time a network of 14 reef sites from Sandy Hook to Cape May that encompass a total of 25 square miles of sea floor. The state has made more than 3,500 deployments of various reef materials - more than any other state in the country - including ships and barges, massive undersea ridges from six million tons of rock, and thousands of fabricated concrete reef units.
Artificial reefs can provide important habitat for many of New Jersey’s marine species, with up to 200 species of fish and invertebrates known to colonize our reefs. Reefs also have 800 to 1,000 times more biomass than open ocean and can form important nurseries for juvenile fish.
In October 2004, DEP issued for public comment the most recent draft of its Artificial Reef Management Plan that covers all aspects of the multi-faceted program, including its objectives, history, benefits, site selection and other considerations. The new plan also establishes a protective standard for the stability, durability and effectiveness of various materials used in reef construction. Currently there is no uniform national standard for the durability of reef materials.
The 1.1-square mile Garden State North Reef Site where today’s deployment occurred is approximately 6.5 miles offshore from Harvey Cedars in Ocean County and is comprised of more than 44,000 cubic yards of vessels, tanks, specially-designed “reef balls” and other materials. In 2003, it was one of five artificial reefs where New Jersey deployed 250 decommissioned New York City subway cars.
The 170-foot tanker deployed today formerly was known as YO-153 and was built for the U.S. Navy in 1943. It had been stationed at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Prior to deploying the tanker at the reef site, DEP supervised cleaning of the tanker to remove all greases, floatables and other materials that might be harmful to the marine environment. The U.S. Coast Guard inspected the cleanup of the tanker prior to allowing DEP to transport the ship to the reef site.
The vessel was sunk by cutting holes in the hull and opening the engine room sea locks, which allowed the ship to take on water slowly. This vessel is the 134th ship to be sunk on New Jersey’s artificial reef sites.
For more information on New Jersey’s artificial reef program visit the DEP website at http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/artreef.htm. For more
information about the Governor’s “Coast 2005” initiative, visit