How Can Something Be Wrong With The Fishing Registry Bill

How Can Something Be Wrong With The Fishing Registry Bill
By Anthony P Mauro, Sr (c) 2011

Conservation Corner w/ Anthony P. Mauro, Sr
Conservation Corner w/ Anthony P. Mauro, Sr

USA –-( Q. Mr. Mauro, if the Assembly and the Senate passed the free saltwater registry bill how could there be something wrong with it?

A. The saltwater registry is the result of a federal mandate. The fact that New Jersey legislators have voted to have the registry “free” is recognition of the overwhelming numbers of anglers in New Jersey. I am proud to say that in just over three years the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance has helped to give voice to the 600,000 anglers. All of this is wonderful news.

But, frankly speaking, there is another side to this story. In the haste of getting a “free” saltwater registry bill passed shortcuts appear to have been taken. The bill was produced and passed without an honest examination of the costs involved in implementing and managing the registry. Also, there was no determination as to where funding would be taken to pay for a free registry. Had there been due diligence in these areas a funding source(s) would have been referenced in the bill.

In our personal lives we would not make spending decisions without first understanding the tradeoffs between our family budget and our quality of life. The same approach should have been taken with the “free” saltwater registry however it was created without an understanding of the tradeoffs between the Bureau of Martine Fisheries budget and the quality of our fishing experiences.

In response to the above the NJOA (CF) has continued to review the bill for shortcomings to be certain they could be corrected as soon as possible and ensure that the saltwater registry is in place immediately. That’s when we discovered that the bill was written as a “regulation” as opposed to using a more direct approach.

If the Governor signs the registry bill as it is currently written it might need to go through a review process that includes a public comment period. If true, there is a possibility it could take as long as 12 months before the registry goes into effect. We all want New Jersey’s registry to be exempt from the federal $15.00 fee – immediately.

Since the bill orders the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in consultation with the Marine Fisheries Council, to establish and implement a registry using the regulatory process we contacted the DEP to see if our interpretation about a possible delay is correct and it appears to be so. It seems to us that the DEP is aware of the potential problem and they are working to resolve it so that we can have a viable registry in place shortly. Perhaps there’s even a way for the Governor to circumvent the review process.

The bill is now awaiting the Governor’s consideration. He has until the middle of February to decide whether he will sign it, veto it or give it a conditional veto (return it to the legislature for changes.)

We’re confident that the Christie administration will quickly resolve any issues with the free registry bill. In the interim the NJOA (CF) is suggesting that the angling community call the Governor’s office and not only ask that the registry take effect immediately but also insist that the monies used to implement and manage the free registry not cannibalize funds used for the health and protection of our natural resources.

Call the Gov: 1-609-292-6000.

Color The Green Movement Blue
Color The Green Movement Blue

Anthony P. Mauro, Sr, (also known as “Ant” to friends and associates) is Chairman and co-founder of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance.

In addition to NJOA, Ant’s commitment to the principles of sustainable use of natural resources and stewardship for the environment helped to found the New Jersey Angling & Hunting Conservation Caucus. The NJAHC is the first outdoor caucus of its kind in New Jersey and is designed to educate opinion leaders and policy makers of the principles of conservation and the benefits that confer to the state’s wildlife and ecology.

A lifelong resident of New Jersey, Ant is an international big game hunter and avid conservationist. He has authored two books on conservation and hunting, including “Color The Green Movement Blue“.