|As a result of improved water quality,
portions of the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers were upgraded to "Seasonally
Approved" for direct harvest of shellfish in 1997 and 2001. After
being closed for approximately 25 years, the harvest is now allowed from
November 1 to April 30. This reclassification was the result of cooperative
efforts of the DEP, local municipalities and individuals to reduce nonpoint
source pollution in the region.
While the seasonal opening of these waters was well
received by recreational and commercial shellfishers, the reclassification
did result in some unexpected problems. Waterfowl hunters use much of
the same area during a portion of the seasonal shellfish harvest period,
resulting in conflicts. Shellfishing activity was an obvious problem to
waterfowl hunters enjoying their sport on the river, and shellfishermen
could not work in areas where hunters were set up.
In an effort to resolve this spatial conflict, Bureau of Shellfisheries staff met with representatives of both user groups to find an equitable resolution to the problem. In the end, both groups agreed that they would respect the rights of others and operate on a "first come-first served"
Whether a waterfowl hunter or shellfishermen, enjoy
your outdoor pursuits along the Navesink and Shrewsbury, but keep the
"golden rule" in mind at all times.