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NJ Anglers Will Not Pay To Fish In 2011
Written by Jim Hutchinson, Jr   
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 12:03

RFA-NJ Says Coastal Anglers Will Fish Free in Garden State Waters in 2011 

no_money-on-fishing-hook-websize.pngNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed New Jersey's free saltwater registry bill into law today, which will allow coastal anglers to register their name and phone number with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) at no cost in 2011.  By federal law, saltwater anglers are required to register their name and phone number with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on an annual basis in order to fish in coastal waters.  In November, NMFS announced that the fee for registering with the National Saltwater Angler Registry will be $15 as of January 1, a change affecting many anglers and spear fishermen in Hawaii, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"From a federal perspective, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has just put forth a historic piece of legislation that helps memorialize the public's right to free and open access to our nation's public resources," said Jim Donofrio, Executive Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA). "While there's been a lot of public confusion over the past few months in the state regarding this legislation, and we're grateful that Governor Christie has taken the time to analyze the facts, cutting through the red tape and bureaucracy surrounding the need for a saltwater registry."

"A big thanks to Senators Jeff Van Drew and Jennifer Beck, as well as Speaker Sheila Oliver and Chairman Nelson Albano for working across party lines to make this happen for New Jersey's saltwater anglers," said Donofrio, while adding "it took legislative support to get this law passed, not to mention plenty of grassroots political action of RFA members in the state of New Jersey, the very essence of the I Fish, I Vote motto used by RFA members for nearly 15 years.". 

Currently, 22 of the nation's 24 coastal states are exempted from the federal registration requirements because of existing state programs which provide the necessary angler data to the National Saltwater Angler Registry.  The new saltwater angler registry law now requires DEP to establish a free angler registry program for the state of New Jersey, much the same as what the state of Delaware has done through their Fisherman Identification Number (www.delaware-fin.com) Donofrio said.

"We need to enhance tourism, and what better way to do it than free fishing?" said Sen. Van Drew, primary sponsor of S1122 and a driving force in getting the free registry legislation signed into law in New Jersey.

"It's symbolic. New Jersey could be a real leader on this," Van Drew recently told Shore News Today.  "The bureaucrats are pushing for a tax and we're saying, 'C'mon, this one time let's let the fishermen breathe.' We would gain more revenue back for the state by doing something bold to promote fishing. Think of all the bait and tackle, fishing equipment, restaurant dinners and everything else fishermen buy. A fee would damper the environment and that's not good," the senator added.

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Act Now in Support of Saltwater Registry Legislation
Written by Jim Hutchinson, Jr   
Tuesday, 18 January 2011 12:01
RFA-NJ CALLS ON COASTAL COMMUNITY TO GET INVOLVED 
NJ & PA Anglers Ask Governor Christie To Sign A823/S1122

 

The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) is urging its New Jersey and Pennsylvania members to act now in support of saltwater registry legislation now resting on Governor Chris Christie's desk.  Passed unanimously in the New Jersey Senate in December as Senate Bill 2211 (S1122), the legislation was amended slightly by the Assembly on January 6, 2011 as Assembly Bill 823 (A823), and now requires the Governor's signature in order for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to act.

 

"We were able to clear this legislation through various committees and get it passed by both the Senate and Assembly because of phone calls and faxes, and now it looks as though our coastal community is going to have to speak out in force in order for the Governor to sign it," said RFA Executive Director Jim Donofrio. "The registry opponents have tried desperately to sabotage this legislation, but our RFA members and coastal business owners were not about to sit back and let that happen without a fight, not then and definitely not now," he said.

 

Donofrio said the RFA's New Jersey chapter (RFA-NJ) has been active in supporting saltwater angler registry legislation ever since federal law was changed in 2007 to call for a virtual phonebook of saltwater anglers nationwide.  "It's a simple requirement that's had overwhelming support in our community and throughout the state legislature," Donofrio said.  

 

RFA is urging coastal anglers and business owners to visit the RFA homepage at www.joinrfa.org to download and print out a copy of the letter to Governor Christie which can be faxed to his attention at 609-292-3454.

 

To download the fax directly, visit www.joinrfa.org/Press/RFARegistryfax2011.pdf.

 
FREE ANGLER REGISTRY BILL CLEARS NEW HURDLE
Written by Recreational Fishing Alliance   
Tuesday, 14 December 2010 16:07

Budget Committee Sends S1122/A823 For Full Senate Vote As Early As 12/20

December 14, 2010 - This morning in Committee Room 4 on the 1st floor of the State House Annex in Trenton, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to send S1122 (and its Assembly companion bill A823) to the Senate for a full vote.  According to the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), the committee's vote today means the Senate could vote on New Jersey's saltwater registry bill as early as December 20.
According RFA Executive Director Jim Donofrio who testified before the committee in support of the legislation, all eleven Senate committee members who heard statements today from both sides easlily saw the fiscal benefits of the legislation and found complete consensus with regard to the merits of the bills.  
"The legislators who have supported the free registry have made it very clear that there's no place for a saltwater fee in New Jersey," Donofrio said.  "It's quite obvious that the Senators and Assembly representatives from various committees are in unanimous consent that a free saltwater registry is the way to move forward at this time, and we're very thankful for the democratic process," he added.
Sponsored by Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May) and Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Red Bank), S1122 would require the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to maintain a free annual saltwater registry program to meet the new federal mandate for data collection, allowing New Jersey's coastal fishermen to avoid paying a $15 federal registration fee beginning January 1.  The bill was approved unanimously in the Senate Environment Committee last week.
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NJ ANGLER REGISTRY PASSED OUT OF SENATE COMMITTEE THIS MORNING!!!
Written by Gary Cuputi   
Thursday, 09 December 2010 11:41

 Just got a call from Jim Hutchinson from the RFA. He was in Trenton at the Senate committee hearing this morning with Jim Donofrio. Senator Smith finally bowing to pressure put the free angler registry legislation up for a committee vote and it passed unanimously with only Senator Smith abstaining!

Senator Van Drew provided extremely well documented testimony detailing the importance of recreational saltwater fishing to the state, the millions it generated in tax revenue, the money the state receives from the federal Wallop-Breaux Funds and how it is designated and how important fishing is to the shore area and overall state economy. He hit every salient point perfectly and backed it up with the facts putting everyone on the committee at ease with the decision to support the legislation.

Hutch and Jim Donofrio asked me to extend to all of you who wrote, emailed and called your State Senators and those who took time to attend today's meeting in Trenton a BIG THANK YOU!

We are facing so many issues that are aimed at destroying recreational fishing in saltwater and when we pull together we can get things done.

The legislation is slated for a floor vote in the Senate before the end of the year, where it is expect to pass handily. If one of your representatives is on the committee, call their office and thank them for their actions today. If not, call you state senator and tell them to vote for the legislation when it comes to the floor next week.
 
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