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President's Report

by John Toth

(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association May 2008 Newsletter)

 

Outdoors Writers Workshop  

Tom Fote and I attended an Outdoors Writers Workshop sponsored by the JCAA and the NJ Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs on April 1, 2008 at the Assunpink Central Region Office. The purpose of this meeting was to have the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife give a presentation to sportswriters on the latest projects the Division is working on so what they report is timely and accurate. While we heard about a variety of issues, Director Chanda reported that his Division is undergoing a hiring freeze and they cannot hire needed employees to fill a number of vacant positions that is very negative impact on what the Division can accomplish. He reported that the Division presently has 169 employees and approximately 40 of them can retire if the state offers an early retirement incentive program. The Division is certainly being impacted by NJ’s budget problems, but we (anglers and hunters) will suffer if the Division loses an inordinate amount of staff over this budgetary issue. We will keep you informed over the latest developments on how the budgetary issues are affecting the Division.

 

New Jersey Outdoor Alliance

This coalition of anglers and hunters was instrumental in defeating Senator Karcher and Assemblyman Panter whose agenda was to stack the NJ Marine Fish Council with animal right activists. This organization is not a one-issue organization and it is dedicated to protecting the angling and hunting rights of all who hunt and fish in NJ. I attended the NJ Outdoor Alliance meeting on March 31st, and the NJOA has decided to retain a lobbyist who will represent anglers and hunters on a full time basis in Trenton. The lobbyist is Mr. Bill Pascrell from Princeton Public Affairs Group. He will promote all of our interests with the legislators in Trenton and also advise us on the best course of action on pending legislation concerning fishing and hunting issues. If New Jersey’s anglers and hunters were united in one voice, we could control this state! More on this topic to follow!

 

Response by the JCAA to the Executive Editor’s Log in Edition # 14, April 3, 2008 of the Fisherman’s Magazine.

A more detailed response to this editorial is in this newsletter, but I have offered a much shorter version that shows the pros and cons of this issue. We will discuss this abbreviated response and the JCAA’s association with the Marine Fish Conservation at our General Meeting scheduled for Tuesday April 29th.

Most, if not all anglers, are environmentalists at heart. We know that if we defile our oceans, the fish will be gone. With this perspective in mind, the JCAA, along with other fishing organizations, joined the Marine Fisheries Conservation Network (Network) when it was first formed in 1994. In 2001, the American Sportsman Association (ASA) asked the JCAA to serve on the Network’s Board of Directors to represent all of our recreational interests. The pros and cons of our membership in the Network follow:

PROS:

  • The JCAA steers the Network away from Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) and other harmful issues to the recreational community. Just very recently there has been a renewed call for more MPA’s by environmentalists.
  • At the JCAA’s urging, The Network is pushing for funding in the Federal budget to pay for the best possible science that we all know we desperately need to argue against severe reductions in fluke quotas and other species.
  • The JCAA influenced the Network in not asking for a lower summer quota (11.7) pounds for the 2008 season.
  • With input from the JCAA, the Network is trying to protect important forage fish such as menhaden.
  • The Network shares all of our commitment for clean water and is a good ally with the recreational community in fighting for it.
  • The JCAA’s membership in the Network at least ensures that the recreational point of view is heard in the environmental community. Without it there would be no counter arguments to those extreme environmentalists who want to take the Network and other environmental groups to follow their anti-recreational agenda.

CONS:

  • The JCAA’s affiliation with the Network gives the recreational community the impression that the JCAA supports and endorses all of the Network’s positions that are hostile to recreational interests. This is definitely not true!
  • The JCAA has received very negative press (such as the editorial in question) over its affiliation with the Network while trying to protect anglers from extreme environmental groups.

All of these points were shared with the Fisherman staff at our January 30th meeting and that the JCAA member clubs, not its Board members, make policy in regard to all JCAA issues including which organizations the JCAA join. JCAA membership in the Network has been approved by its member clubs and this membership can be terminated anytime if the member clubs decide to do so. We, like the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and the American Sportsman Association (ASA) and other Network members, have had and still have issues with the Network in regard some of their positions, especially as it relates to summer flounder. There also may come a time when the JCAA removes its membership from the Network because of these types of issues. However, at this time the JCAA feels that its membership in the Network can better serve the best interests of the recreational angling community. The real issue here is that all recreational groups need to stick together to have a united front against all of those interest groups who want to end fishing as we know it. As Benjamin Franklin said over 200 years ago, “we all need to stick together or surely we all hang separately one by one.”

 

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