New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife
March 26, 2002
MULTI-SPECIES REGULATIONS PROPOSED
For more information contact:
Bruce Halgren at 609-748-2020
The Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife and the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council have developed a regulatory proposal regarding several marine species that will be published in the April 1, 2002 New Jersey Register. A public hearing to take comments on the proposed amendments has also been scheduled for 8 p.m. on April 17 at Richard Stockton College, A-wing Lecture Hall, Jimmie Leeds Road in Pomona, Atlantic County.
"Many of the provisions are necessary to bring New Jersey into compliance or compatibility with coastwide management plans of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "Other proposals were developed at the request of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council or by the participants in the fisheries involved, while still others were made to correct, clarify or simplify existing regulations."
The proposed rule amendments concern recreational fisheries for river herring and striped bass, and commercial fisheries for blue crabs, American lobster, tautog, shark, black sea bass and weakfish. There are also proposals regarding commercial fishermen using gill nets or fish pots.
Highlights of the proposed amendments follow:
Written comments regarding the proposed amendments must be submitted by May 1, 2002 to:
- Blue crab regulations are proposed to enlarge the Delaware Bay crab dredge area, modify crab pot and dredge seasons and to disallow dredging of crabs on Delaware Bay shellfish leases.
- American lobster regulations are proposed for the commercial fishery to a) modify size and possession limits, b) establish criteria for a Type E Lobster Pot Permit to allow Federal lobster permit holders who have landed lobster in New Jersey by otter trawl to fish with pots under specific circumstances and c) to implement a 25% reduction in the ASMFC established lobster pot allocation from 156,000 to 117,000.
- The use of non-offset circle hooks is proposed to reduce striped bass bycatch mortality while fishing with natural bait during the striped bass spawning area closure within the Delaware River and its tributaries. This restriction will not apply to hook sizes smaller than size two.
- Regulations are proposed to establish a limited entry program for gill net licenses. Beginning in 2003, gill net licenses will be available only to applicants who held a valid gill net license between January 1, 1997 and July 13, 2000. Criteria under which gill net licenses may be forfeited or transferred is also proposed.
- Regulations are proposed to prohibit the overnight setting of unattended staked or anchored gill nets in the Atlantic Ocean from June 15 through October 31 and to prohibit the overnight setting of unattended anchored gill nets in the Delaware Bay from June 15 through September 30.
- Regulations are proposed to establish a limited entry program for commercial fish pots. Beginning in 2003, fish and lobster pot licenses are proposed to be available only to applicants who held a valid fish and lobster pot license in any one year from 1995 through 2000. Criteria under which fish pot licenses could be transferred is also proposed.
- Regulations are proposed to establish a closing date of December 31, 2002 for the submission of applications for a New Jersey Tautog Permit or for a New Jersey Non-Directed Fishery Tautog Permit and to modify the criteria for replacement vessels.
- Regulations are proposed to a) establish a limited entry program for the black sea bass fishery, b) establish qualifying criteria for obtaining New Jersey Black Sea Bass Permits, c) provide for transfers of New Jersey Black Sea Bass Permits to replacement vessels with size restrictions or along with the sale of a vessel to a new owner, d) provide for vessels qualifying for a New Jersey Black Sea Bass Permit under a hook and line gear type to include a maximum crew size of five with no for-hire passengers on-board and e) require dealer permitting and reporting.
- A regulation is proposed to require that all sharks sold in New Jersey be sold to federally permitted shark dealers.
- Summer flounder regulations are proposed to clarify that summer flounder commercial seasons starting on the first Sunday of an applicable month refer to directed fishery seasons and clarify that dealers must provide summer flounder landing reports even if no summer flounder were landed.
- Weakfish regulations are proposed to allow the harvest and landing of not more than 150 pounds of weakfish by otter trawl during closed seasons.
Individuals may obtain copies of filed documents from the Office of Administrative Law, 9 Quakerbridge Plaza, P.O. Box 049, Trenton, NJ 08626-0049. The Office of Administrative Law can be contacted at (609) 588-6613 to determine copying fees. Be sure to specify proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 7:25-14.1, 14.2, 14.7, 14.12, 14.13, 14.14, 14.16, 14.19, 18.1, 18.5, 18.12, 18.13 and 18.14. Copies of the proposal will also be available at the public hearing.
DEP Docket No. 36-00-12/147
DEP, Office of Legal Affairs
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402