On Thursday, June 6, the New Jersey Angling and Hunting Conservation Caucus, partnered with the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance – the Advisory Council that provides guidance and support for the Caucus – held a policy briefing to educate legislators, their staff, and members of the sportsmen’s conservation community on the issue of funding for the Bureau of Marine Fisheries.
The Bureau is a critical entity that helps support a $2.5 billion recreational and commercial industry. However, due to a lack of funding, the staff has decreased over the years resulting in the Bureau becoming increasingly unable to effectively manage the resource. Without additional funding, New Jersey anglers may face additional fishery closures and New Jersey will lose its competitive edge to other states that are well funded and staffed in the bid for quotas.
During the policy briefing, CSF gave a presentation on the economic impact of sportsmen and women on New Jersey’s economy. According to CSF’s report, “America’s Sporting Heritage: Fueling the American Economy,” 794,000 sportsmen and women went hunting or fishing in New Jersey in 2011, spending $1.26 billion in the process. This spending supported more than twice the number of jobs as Continental Airlines in Newark, the state’s largest employer (16,905 vs. 8,000).
David Chanda, Director of the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife gave a presentation to the Caucus on the increasing challenges he faces in managing New Jersey’s fisheries. The Bureau of Marine Fisheries has to respond to almost 20 federal management plans that require staff and time to conduct stock assessments and technical research necessary to adequately respond to them. Due to reduced staff, the Bureau has been unable to conduct adequate research on all of the species they are tasked with managing and have therefore undergone potentially unnecessary closures or reductions of certain fisheries (Tautog, River Herring, Winter Flounder, etc.) as a result.
For more information on the New Jersey Angling and Hunting Conservation Caucus contact Brent Miller at Brent@sportsmenslink.org.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?