Fisheries Management & Legislative Report
by Tom Fote
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association May 2012 Newsletter)
Pots Off the Reefs
The good news is the Pots Off the Reefs Bill has received a great deal of attention at the beginning of this legislative session. The Pots Off the Reefs Bill has been reintroduced both in the Senate and Assembly. The Senate Environment Committee Chairman Senator Bob Smith posted the Bill S1177 and it was moved out of the committee with only one negative vote. It has passed the full Senate with only 3 votes against it. Senators Gerald Cardinale, Michael Doherty and Jim Whelan all voted against the bill. Senators Jeff Van Drew and Kevin O'Tool did not vote. JCAA would like to thank Senate President Stephen Sweeney for posting S1177 so quickly and helping in its quick passage.
We no longer have to focus our attention on the Senate but need to focus all of our attention on the Assembly. We already have over 45 cosponsors in the Assembly for the companion bill A1343. Half the battle is done so we need to put the pressure on Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver to make sure that A1343 will be heard and posted for a vote. This is the only bill that would allow for the use of the Sport Fish Restoration Fund to build artificial reefs. As reported in last month’s newspaper, there is another bill introduced by Assemblyman Albano (A-2645) that is not acceptable. The only people that voted for this bill in Assemblyman Albano’s committee were the Democratic members. Fortunately, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver pulled the bill from the voting list for the full Assembly at the last minute. We appreciate Speaker Oliver’s action and are hopeful the appropriate bill (A-1343) will receive the attention it needs.
The alternate bill (A-2645) is flawed in many ways. It is crucial to know that this bill (A-2645) is just a delaying tactic. Instead of accomplishing anything through legislation, it sends the problem to the NJ Marine Fisheries Council. The NJ Marine Fisheries Council has 5 commercial members and 4 recreational members. The last time the Council, because of its commercial majority, failed to resolve this problem but did drag its heels for 2 – 3 years. The Council could have addressed this issue at any time and we have no faith that will happen. We don’t need another delay. That is all A-2645 does. The only sponsor for this bill is Assemblyman Albano and all the Republican members of his committee abstained. Assemblyman Albano did not attempt to meet with JCAA, Reef Rescue or NJ State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs before presenting this bill. We hope this is one of the reasons Assembly Speaker Oliver pulled this bill before a vote.
Since this bill passed the Senate so quickly, we can give our full attention to the Assembly to guarantee the original bill (S-1177/A-1343) is finally passed. We need to make the problems with NJ reefs part of our history, not a current problem. Now we need to work with Assembly Speaker Oliver to help post and pass A-1343 which is the only bill that has the JCAA, Reef Rescue, NJOA, and all our member clubs support. Today, we need to demand that our local Assemblymen and women contact Speaker Oliver and support A-1343, the bill that a majority of the Assembly, both Democrats and Republicans cosponsor. If Assemblyman Albano is unwilling to post this bill in his committee, Speaker Oliver needs to move the bill to another committee or post it directly for a vote. It would also be appropriate to contact Speaker Oliver directly, thank her for pulling the alternative bill and ask for her help in passage of A-1343. Sample letters will be posted on the JCAA webpage.
We also need to contact Governor Christie’s Office and Commissioner Bob Martin at DEP. We need for the Governor and Commissioner to work with the Legislature to pass S-1177/A-1343. JCAA, New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, Reef Rescue and NJ Dive Association have had discussions with the Commissioner and Legislators to move this bill. I know the Governor and Commissioner would like to accomplish this goal through regulation instead of legislation but until the inequities favoring the commercial fisheries in the structure of the NJ Marine Fisheries Council are addressed, we could work 2 more years and accomplish nothing. History proves that legislation is the only way to address certain issues in fisheries management. The Council cannot be trusted. Here is the new letter we are sending to Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and a sample letter that you can send to your Assembly representative to join on as a cosponsor.
Letter to Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver
Letter to your Assemblyman/woman
Howard Lab Closing
April 12th was a beautiful day to be outdoors at Sandy Hook. I began the morning with Senator Menendez and Tim Dillingham from the American Littoral Society for a presentation on the importance of recreational tagging. Tim explained the American Littoral Society’s long-standing tagging program which is certified by NMFS that helps supply information for stock assessment. The tagging program has helped prove the migratory patterns of many species. I explained the importance of all the recreational tagging programs including Berkeley Striper Club that supply information to the NMFS that is free. The cost is paid by the members of the groups involved in these tagging programs. I also explained that programs run by respected groups like Woods Hole Laboratory and many state agencies provide reliable and valued data that would otherwise be cost prohibitive. Since I was not warned that waders and a fishing pole were required, I watched while Senator Menendez and Tim Dillingham tried their luck with striper fishing at Sandy Hook.
This was followed by a press conference at the Howard Lab at Sandy Hook. The speakers were Senators Menendez and Lautenberg, Congressman Pallone, Marie Howard (daughter of Congressman Jim Howard), Cindy Zipf (representing Clean Ocean Action) and me. The consensus of the speakers was that the Howard Lab is a unique, vital resource that cannot be closed. It would be impossible to duplicate the services at any other facility. Our legislators pledged to use their influence to keep the lab open. They indicated some of the unique facilities, including the 32 foot tank that is unavailable at any other facility for bluefish and other fin fish research. One of the reasons for the ongoing cost of the lab was the inclusion of these tanks at NOAA’s insistence. New Jersey put in the up-front money through a bond issue which will be paid in 2013, dramatically reducing the operational costs. In doing a web search I found an interesting source of information. Most towns now have Patch. Many of the local coastal towns had information about the lab and the Middletown Patch was rerunning a great video celebrating the 50th anniversary of the lab. Here is the link http://middletown-nj.patch.com/articles/howard-laboratory-marks-a-milestone#video-7851400
Marie Howard talked about her late father Jim Howard’s love of fishing and the NJ coast. When the lab burned down in 1985, Congressman Howard made it his mission to rebuild a lab that could provide the most efficient scientific research for the next 50 years. His vision lives on at the Howard Lab and we cannot afford to lose this valuable resource. Marlene Howard, Congressman Howard’s widow, attended the press conference and tour. She and I discussed Congressman Howard’s vision for the ending of ocean dumping and other coastwide issues. Now I understand why Congressman Howard’s district (frequently called the fish hook) reflected his love of all things aquatic.
In my remarks, I pointed out how humbled I was by my presence at this press conference. The Howard Lab is a model for scientific research and the people who work there are my science heroes. The three legislators in attendance are the best protectors of the ocean and its resources anywhere in this country. I also pointed out that all of the reviews in the New York Bight area are done at the lab. If these services were removed from the lab, the expense of recreating them elsewhere would be prohibitive and the loss of expertise would be critical. The recreational and commercial fishing communities need to work together to guarantee that one of the most important laboratories for ocean and fisheries research in the Mid-Atlantic region is not closed.
Actions to take:
Hooked on Fishing not on Drugs moves in Senate and Assembly
Nothing has happened since I ran the update below last month since the Assembly and the Senate are not holding committee hearings and voting sessions while the budget hearings are going on.
Reprinted from last month’s JCAA Newspaper
The Senate Bill S178 and the Assembly Bill A638 that establishes the Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Program in DEP and appropriates $200,000 from the Drug Enforcement and Demand Reduction Fund passed out of the Senate Environmental & Energy Committee and the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee respectively with unanimous votes. It was voted out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and was given a second reading with amendments. It now needs to be voted on by the full Assembly. In the Senate it needs to be posted and voted on in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. This committee has historically been the bottleneck. It is usually the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee that has failed to take action. We have several sponsors for the bill who are on that Committee. We need to write to Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, to the members of the Senate Committee and especially the sponsors, to make sure this bill is given a hearing in the Senate Committee. We are hopeful that Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver will post this bill for a vote by the full Assembly. This is the fourth session this bill has been considered but never passed by both houses. You need to reach out to your elected officials in support of this bill.
National Ocean Policy
After the two Oceans Commissions, President Bush and Congress decided there should be a national ocean policy. The President proposed establishing a National Oceans Council. Both this Congress and the previous one have been unable to pass legislation making this a reality. President Obama continued the process. JCAA has expressed concerns at numerous meetings beginning during the Bush Administration. Our concern has been the establishment of an additional bureaucracy created to manage the ocean. Tom Siciliano, Bruce Freeman, Bruce Smith and I attended meetings at Monmouth University including one a field hearing on the draft. When the draft was published, Bruce Freeman wrote a letter expressing the JCAA position. The entire letter was included in a previous newspaper. I have included two key paragraphs below.
The Plan indicates that ESM is a comprehensive big picture approach to resource management with its actions supported by science. Based upon our state of knowledge today and what is needed to understand the complex interrelationships of the biological world, considerably more scientific studies will be needed. The Plan states that no new bureaucracy will be created and any necessary operating funds will come from the existing federal budget. Nevertheless, we see that the FY 2013 budget calls for the elimination of existing programs to monitor water quality, end cooperating programs with coastal states and interstate fishery commissions, and close federal fishery laboratories critical to understanding the relationships of the biological world. What the Plan advocates as a critical need and what we see occurring seems diametrically opposed. How will the Ocean Council address this issue?
The Plan gives little mention of how the public will be directly involved in any sort of advisory capacity. It is our experience that public advisors are important to federal fishery programs. Public advisors play an important role in both interstate fishery commissions as well as federal councils. Will such advisors be part of the NOC, and if so, what is the process?
It seems the comments we have made have been ignored. The National Ocean Council has gone far beyond what was proposed in the draft that we commented on. It appears the Council will be a new bureaucracy that is unnecessary. As we have stated time and time again, it appears commercial and recreational fishermen have been ignored. With the tightness of money for fisheries and ocean research, this is not the time to redirect our efforts and our limited resources into creating an additional bureaucracy that seems misguided from inception. The President needs to rethink this proposal. For a variety of reasons, many diverse groups are opposed to establishment of the National Ocean Council as currently proposed. We will be working with our Congressional delegation to deal with this problem.
ASMFC Week April 30th - May 3rd
As you can see from the schedule, this will be another busy week at the ASMFC meeting in Alexandria, VA. On Monday there will also be a Mid-Atlantic Council hearing on Draft Amendment 14. Chris Zeman has written an article for this newspaper explaining Amendment 14. There has been considerable time allocated for menhaden to review the public information so an amendment can be prepared for public hearing. The Sturgeon Board will deal with the fallout from the listing of Atlantic Sturgeon on the endangered species list by the NMFS. It is interesting that the listing of Atlantic Sturgeon as an endangered species was not supported by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Councils or the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The fifteen states along the coast are attempting to decide on what actions will be required and how this will be funded. The funding in New Jersey could be greater than the current Marine Fisheries budget. If you cannot be in attendance, sign up for the comprehensive releases that are sent out by ASMFC. Go to their webpage to review the material for the species that are of importance to you.
April 30, 2012
NOAA has yet to Explain Sandy Hook Marine Lab Moving Costs
by Kirk Moore, Asbury Park Press, 4/13/2012
SANDY HOOK — Nearly two months after revealing a plan to close the James J. Howard Marine Laboratory, top officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have yet to explain how much it would cost to relocate scientists and their projects to other sites in Connecticut and Maryland, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said Wednesday.
NOAA leaders say much of that work can be done elsewhere, but Pallone said NOAA admits it will give up some assets at the Howard lab — including its signature 32,000-gallon saltwater tank, an aquarium used to study fish behavior and the largest of its kind on the East Coast.
The saltwater tank was a centerpiece of the design when NOAA and New Jersey collaborated to rebuild the lab after a devastating 1985 fire. New Jersey still owns the lab building that opened in 1993, and the 20-year building bond will be paid off in 2013.
New Jersey rents the lab to NOAA and closing it would save the agency $2.8 million in rent, at a time when NOAA is scrambling to find more money for its satellite programs, agency managers have said..
But lab supporters point out the rent includes $1.18 million to pay back the 1993 construction bond — in effect, a mortgage that will be paid off next year. New Jersey paid to build the state-of-the-art lab building in a joint venture with NOAA and supporters say the state can re-negotiate a more favorable lease next year. “We’re working very closely with the governor's office on this,” Pallone said.
Pallone and Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, both D-N.J., spoke at what was billed as a press conference and tour of the Howard lab, which took on the trappings of a rally as supporters from local environmental and fishing groups made up most of a crowd of 150. Several carried signs, such as “JUST SAY NOAA TO CLOSING THE HOWARD LAB.”
New Jersey’s senators pledged to seek permanent funding in Congress to keep the lab open and prohibit the NOAA from any further attempt to close the lab.
We really need the permanence of legislation to preserve what’s here,” said Cynthia A. Zipf, the executive director of Clean Ocean Action the Sandy Hook-based environmental group.
Zipf recalled how as a youngster “I wanted to be a marine biologist. I wanted to be Jacques Cousteau.” While a student at the University of Rhode Island, Zipf scored a summer internship at Howard, working as a “lab rat” alongside scientists studying the potential effects of offshore oil drilling on fish.
“I wanted to use that science in an advocacy role,” Zipf said. It was science coming out of the Howard lab that helped put an end to ocean dumping, and will be critical to future problems like saving the newly-endangered Atlantic sturgeon, Menendez said. Closing the lab would be a loss to the nation as a whole, and “we cannot allow a national treasure to close,” he said.
Pallone, who quizzed NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco and her assistant Eric Schwaab at a congressional hearing, said he got no explanation of moving costs then and has not heard anything new since.
Lab supporters say that without looking at moving costs, it’s impossible to tell whether closing the Sandy Hook lab really saves any money. The closest estimate that lab advocates have in a 1985 NOAA document, which back then looked at moving the lab to Rhode Island rather than rebuilding from the fire.
Moving costs then were estimated at $2 million to $3 million — around $4 million to $6 million in 2012 dollars.
“There’s been no numbers, clearly no thoughtful analysis of what the real costs will be,” said Tim Dillingham of the American Littoral Society, an ocean conservation group that has a decades-old relationship with the lab.
NOAA officials are “under tremendous pressure to fund the satellite program, and fund it quickly,” Dillingham added. “The state has a lot of decision making power here. I can’t imagine it’s in the state’s interest to have an empty lab on Sandy Hook.”
“This team is going to resist,” said Lautenberg, who sits on a Senate committee that allocates spending money for NOAA. “Ocean life and health are under assault, and this lab is our early-warning system.”
Just months after the lab celebrated its 50th anniversary, NOAA officials announced plans to close it, and move its research and jobs to older NOAA labs at Milford, Conn., and Oxford, Md.
With its aquarium and lab system for studying ocean acidification, and central position between an urban coast and the deep sea, the Howard lab is unique among NOAA facilities, backers said.
“I was astonished that anyone would close” such a valuable asset, said Frank Steimle, a fisheries biologist who retired from the lab after a career that included linking ocean dumping to toxins in fish. Steimle said he can't believe NOAA managers seriously think they can get the same work done “in Chesapeake Bay and Long Island Sound backwaters. This is where the action is.”
Lautenberg, Menendez, Pallone Visit NOAA's Howard Lab at Sandy Hook, Fight to Keep It Open
Office of Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, April 12th, 2012 - 4:56pm
NEWARK, NJ — Today, U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6) toured the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) James J. Howard lab in Sandy Hook to highlight its importance to New Jersey's coastal economy and environment. The Fiscal Year 2013 budget request released by NOAA in February proposed to eliminate funding for the lab, which would result in its closure. During a press conference today outside the lab, Lautenberg, Menendez and Pallone vowed to work through the congressional appropriations process to protect funding for this critical research facility.
“Closing this lab would jeopardize important efforts to protect New Jersey’s shore and coastal areas across the country,” said Lautenberg, who is a member of the Appropriations Committee and serves on the Subcommittee that funds NOAA. “The Howard Lab is a blessing for our state's economy and a boon for our environment. It has helped New Jersey's fishing industry and our state's prosperous coastal economy thrive. From my position on the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will fight to keep the Howard Lab open.”
“For more than 50 years, the Howard Lab has been a unique and invaluable resource for our fisherman, scientists, students, the surrounding communities and the nation. Our fishermen and our scientists need to know what is happening here to scup, to black sea bass and to summer flounder. Our regional economy needs the good jobs that are sustained through the important research performed here. And our nation needs the critical scientific understanding of how we can best maintain a clean and sustainable ocean environment,” said Menendez.
“The Howard lab at Sandy Hook is the only one of its kind in the region and is doing critical scientific research to keep our waters clean and fishable and improve the health and safety of coastal communities,” said Pallone. “I am committed to doing everything possible to keep this important facility open and functioning at full capacity and to make sure that the lab has the necessary funding to continue its important work.”
In February, Senators Lautenberg and Menendez and Representative Pallone sent a letter to President Obama urging the Administration to reconsiders its decision to close the lab. Senators Lautenberg and Menendez have also called on Senate Appropriations Committee leaders to provide the necessary funding to preserve the NOAA lab in Sandy Hook.
NOAA Howard Lab Tour to Save Facility
Legislators and environmentalists push to keep the lab open by promoting its premier marine life research role in the state
by Elaine Van Develde, Long Branch-Eatontown Patch, 4/13/2012
As a measure of highlighting its importance to New Jersey’s ecology and economy, national politicians will join with area environmentalists to tour the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory on Sandy Hook at 11 a.m. tomorrow, April 12.
U.S. senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez (both D-NJ) will join U.S. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, Howard’s daughter Marie and Tom Fote, legislative chair of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association on the tour of the research lab which has been on the Hook for 50 years.
The group is rallying to save the lab from being cut off from federal funding and closed, due to impending budget cuts. Federal officials have claimed that closing the lab will save $2 million a year.
The national politicians and environmentalists maintain that the lab is critical to the coastal environment and economy in the state because of all the research and educational programs conducted at and in concert with the facility.
"It is imperative that the lab remains here, because this location allows the lab to continue studies of marine resources, habitats and environment of the mid-Atlantic region," environmental activist Steve Fromm said in a previous interview. "It provides direct access to one of the most important and urbanized coasts in the world and a direct path to habitat assessment and ecosystem based research that cannot be duplicated elsewhere"
Last month, Pallone sought an increase in NOAA's funding for the lab and at an appropriations meeting in Washington, DC, sought to divert funds from elsewhere to save the Howard lab.
The Fair Haven Borough Council last month passed a resolution opposing the impending closure of the lab.
The Eatontown Council passed the same resolution in March and spoke about the importance of the lab to New Jersey.
A Facebook page has been set up and is dedicated to the mission of trying to remove the closure of the Howard lab from the list of NOAHH facilities slated for closure in the 2013 budget.
The View from the Bridge
by Susan M. Kennedy, The James J. Howard Marine Lab 4/13/2012
You’re driving down Route 36, heading east, cursing under your breath at each light you miss, which is all of them. Shopping centers, gas stations and convenience stores give way to woods and hills as you travel down a steep one, then back up, curve right and left and right again as you approach the Highlands Bridge. Gradual at first, the incline steepens until you crest the span and the Shrewsbury River flows a distant 65 feet below. But your eyes are trained straight ahead until suddenly, it’s right in front of you – a massive dark green swell extending as far as the eye can see, surging towards you and then away, spots of light like glitter dancing across its surface. A twenty-ton tanker glides silently by in the distance, while right in front of you, waves crash on a white strip of sand, empty this time of year except for a spattering of fishermen out to catch spring Stripers.
The approach to Sandy Hook is one of the joys of living in this area, but did you know that all of the things that make it special – the clean ocean, the wide beaches, the recreational fishermen, the fish they seek and even the tanker ship and its cargo – have one thing in common? They, and every single person who enjoys them, have reaped the benefits of the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory.
Located on Sandy Hook just a few miles from the bridge, the Lab houses a group of scientists who have quietly gone about their business of making this a better place to live for more than 50 years. Recently, it has been announced that, due to federal budget cuts, the Lab will be closed. The current plan is to move the scientists and the work they do to Milford, Connecticut and Oxford, Maryland. This plan makes no sense when you consider the type of work that is done there.
Established in 1961, the Lab was the first federal facility in the nation devoted solely to the research of marine recreational fish species and has remained at the forefront of studies on the impact of human activities on the marine environment. What better place to engage in this important research than at the heart of the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area and within the 15,000 square mile area of the Atlantic Ocean known as the New York Bight? The accomplishments of the Marine Lab are many and ongoing and as a direct result of its Sandy Hook location, New Jersey has been a direct beneficiary of its efforts.
It is the Lab’s science that led to the closure of the sewage dump sites that spoiled our beaches in the 1980’s, and has been critical to the development of regulations for the deepening of New York Harbor, allowing tankers to come and go with ease. The lab also provides guidance to the Army Corps of Engineers for beach replenishment programs, led the State Department of Environmental Protection to a better understanding of the cause of red tides, and conducted exhaustive research on seafood safety to protect our status as a top seafood producer. Since its doors opened, Lab scientists have documented the life cycles, characteristics and distribution of major fish species in the Mid-Atlantic that for decades has served as the main source of information for recreational and commercial fisherman, scientists, universities and the public up and down the eastern seaboard.
The Lab is an important research partner to numerous educational institutions, including Rutgers University, Monmouth University, New York University, Brookdale Community College, the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (M.A.S.T.), Stevens Institute of Technology, Stockton State College, and the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium with over 30 additional member institutions and universities. In this role the Lab has provided internships for hundreds of students over the years, myself included.
If the importance of the Lab’s work is not readily apparent, it is better understood when you look at the numbers. Recreational fishing contributes approximately $1.6 billion to New Jersey’s economy every year, to which the commercial fishing and aquaculture industry adds another $ 1 billion. Tourism, which is dependent upon our clean, wide beaches, adds a stunning $35.5 billion dollars to our state coffers each year. We simply can’t afford to lose a major force in the protection of these precious resources
The buildings that house the Lab are leased from New Jersey for $2.8 million annually, a cost that will drop to approximately $1.6 million next year when a construction bond for the facility is paid off. It is this cost, and the lease’s 2013 expiration date, that led the federal government to consider it as an opportunity to trim the budget. Given the important contributions the Lab makes to our area, these savings are specious and are simply not worth the cost. Governor Christie must step in to renegotiate the lease and we all must do what we can to keep the Lab in New Jersey where it belongs.
The next time you drive over the Highlands Bridge, look around and enjoy the view. And remember, even though you can’t actually see it from the bridge, the James J. Howard Marine Science Lab is an integral part of that.
Susan M. Kennedy is an environmental attorney who got her start as a summer intern at the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Lab at Sandy Hook. This link to the radio broadcast by Jason Allentoff is about the Tour of the Lab.
Advocates and Lawmakers Want Marine Research Lab to Stay Open
by Jason Allentoff, NJ101.5.com, 2/28/2012
The James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, located on the Jersey shore in Sandy Hook, is a state-of-the-art marine research facility operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.
It is shared with the Federal agency and the state of New Jersey. According to a budget proposal released last week by President Barack Obama, its been marked for closing as of next year. The reason? Too expensive.
That answer isn’t sitting too well with environmentalists, clean ocean activists and state & local lawmakers. The facility costs a mere $3-million-dollars a year with 38 on-site staffers doing all sorts of research to better understand the ocean, coastal & estuarine organisms and the effects of human activities on marine life. It serves not only New Jersey but the entire eastern seaboard. Several are speaking out about Obama’s plan and are scrambling to try to keep it open.
Recently, the facility, named for the late Monmouth County Congressman, turned 50 years old. It first opened in 1961 by the Department of the Interior and when NOAA was created, they took control. Over the years, the research lab has conducted thousands of hours of study on everything from plants and fish to pollution and the negative effects of mother nature on our bodies of water.
Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez along with Congressman Frank Pallone have written letters to the President indicating the importance and need for the lab. Tom Fote, head of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, says a closure makes absolutely no sense. Fote explains “they want to save 3-million bucks? It’s a drop in the bucket and it’s going to cost more to re-locate those 38 employees to other sites around the country. It is puzzling since just a few years ago, they were considering closing the Connecticut based NOAA facility and moving everyone to Jersey. Now this?!”
Fote tells Townsquare Media that the fight is far from over and they won’t take this sitting still. He says “it was responsible for discovering toxic fish contamination in the 1970s and is one of the best facilities around for the type of work. We can’t lose this.”
Groups like Clean Ocean Action and the American Littoral Society are also pressing the Senate Appropriations Committee to make sure the decision is quickly reversed.
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