Vice President's Report
by Pat Donnelly
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association May 2000 Newsletter)On April 5th I participated in a panel discussion on the "Future of the Jersey Shore." There were experts in flood management, beach replenishment, coastal construction, commercial fishing, environmental impact, and I represented recreational fishing. The panel was put together by the Asbury Park Press as part of an ongoing series on the Jersey Shore.
Naturally, there was the expected clash between the representation of the Port Authority and Cindy Zipf of Clean Ocean Action. The Port Authority has consistently accused COA of distortion while never taking the time to answer Ms. Zipf's written correspondence. While the dialogue was interesting, it was made obvious, the Port Authority refused to recognize the validity of the opposing viewpoint was evident.
My point was to explain that the future of recreational fishing is based on access. By that, I mean access to the Bluefin Tuna fishing for recreation anglers, access to the Porgy fishing for anglers of all socio-economic means. Also, access to a keeper Striped Bass for the average angler. Each of these issues will determine how many people will fish in the future.
I had not planned on speaking much about public access in terms of real estate, but speaking seventh, I had time to listen to each of the experts before me. Not one of the "after" pictures for the beach replenishment slides showed parking spots for the public. None of the seawalls for flood control were handicapped accessible. There was no talk of public access in any of the waterfront restoration zones. Ray Marione and Steve Machalaba have fought hard on these issues in the past, but it will take the entire recreational community to ensure access in the future.
One last thought. There was an individual who was a real estate representative on the Jersey Shore Partnership. He wondered about how they could never get the support of the recreational community. However, when pressured on the issue of access, he complained that it is an unfair burden on coastal homeowners, and that the traffic on the parkway should be proof that no one is complaining about lack of access, which will cement our opposition to his organization.