Senator JEFF VAN DREW
District 1 (Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland)
Requires DEP to establish free recreational saltwater fishing registry.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning saltwater fishing, supplementing P.L.1979, c.199 (C.23:2B-1 et seq.), and repealing section 82 of P.L.1979, c.199.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. The commissioner, in consultation with the Marine Fisheries Council, shall establish and implement a registry program for saltwater recreational anglers, which program shall provide for:
(1) the registration, including identification and contact information, of individuals who engage in recreational fishing:
(a) in the Exclusive Economic Zone;
(b) for anadromous species; or
(c) for Continental Shelf fishery resources beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone; and
(2) the registration, including the ownership, operator, and identification of the vessel, of vessels used in such fishing.
b. (1) The registry program established pursuant to this section shall comply with the provisions of the registry program to be established pursuant to the “Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006,” Pub.L.109-479 (16 U.S.C. s.1801 et seq.).
(2) Upon establishment of the registry program pursuant to this section, the commissioner shall apply to the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for exempted state designation from the federal registration requirements.
c. The department shall not charge a fee for the registration required pursuant to this section.
2. Section 82 of P.L.1979, c.199 (C.23:2B-18) is repealed.
3. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill directs the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Marine Fisheries Council, to establish and implement a registry program for saltwater recreational anglers modeled on the registry program to be established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This bill specifies that the State cannot charge a fee for registration under this program.
In 2007, Congress reauthorized the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Public Law 109-479), and included requirements for revising the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey (MRFSS) and directing NOAA to establish a National Saltwater Angler Registry Program by January 1, 2009. Congress also authorized NOAA to collect a fee, beginning in the year 2011, to cover administrative costs associated with this registry. The purpose of the federal registry is to identify all saltwater anglers that can be contacted to obtain more accurate recreational fishery information to improve fisheries management.
The National Saltwater Angler Registry will exempt anglers from the federal registry if their state has its own registration or licensing system. However, since New Jersey does not currently have a saltwater licensing or registration program, the State’s anglers will be required to register with the federal government if there is no State program in place by January 1, 2009. This bill also directs the DEP Commissioner to apply to the federal National Marine Fisheries Service for “exempted state designation” so that New Jersey’s saltwater anglers do not have to participate in the national registry.
This bill would also repeal section 82 of P.L.1979, c.199 (C.23:2B-18) that prohibits the imposition of a saltwater recreational anglers license.