Traps Off the Reefs: It's the “Right Thing”
By Anthony P Mauro, Sr (c) 2011
USA –-(Ammoland.com)- Many outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen have spent more than 4 years trying to do the “right thing” and have commercial fixed gear removed from the artificial reefs.
Why do I call removing fixed gear the “right thing”? Because recreational anglers are being deterred from using the reefs they are paying to build and maintain by a commercial fishing industry that pays nothing. Because Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, and New York have removed fixed gear in order to do the right thing. Because Delaware is now in the process of removing fixed gear in order to do the right thing.
Because the Federal government stopped funding New Jersey’s Reef Program because it believes that the State is not doing the right thing. Because a former DEP Commissioner (and now Administrator of EPA) and Director of Fish and Wildlife stated in a letter that to remove fixed gear from the reefs is to do the right thing. Because more than 50 assemblypersons and 34 senators (70% of our legislators) have supported removing fixed gear from the reefs in order to do the right thing.
Removing fixed gear from the reefs is the “right thing” because the commercial fishing industry has annexed a public resource for purposes of profit and uses a portion of the profits to continue the practice of deterring access to the rightful owners of the reefs – the recreational anglers that pay to build and maintain them.
For those of you that may not know, during the past 4 years representatives from the NJOA have met with the two DEP Commissioners, numerous legislators, two Governors and members of their administrations, environmental counselors and policy personnel, and many others, and we have asked them to do the right thing. We have held a rally and participated in three demonstrations in support of doing the right thing.
No one has told us that doing the right thing would be easy and we know that progress is sometimes measured in decades – not days or years. It took Einstein 10 years to arrive at the simply looking equation E=MC2. His commitment was as important to solving the riddle as his intellect. He resisted the temptation to accept an incomplete answer. He was true to the integrity of his mission.
Fortunately, our pursuit is not as complicated as exposing the secrets of the universe but is instead removing commercial gear – all fixed gear – from the artificial reefs. Our mission is to correct an injustice; to do the “right thing”. We don’t need the smarts of Einstein to accomplish our mission; just his integrity and commitment. Each of you has the NJOA’s commitment to continue to pursue all avenues available to us to do the right thing and get fixed gear removed from the reefs, regardless of how long it may take. We ask that you continue to work with us.
So, even if you have done so already, contact Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (973) 395-1166, and Assemblyman Nelson Albano (609) 465-0700, and ask that they do the right thing and allow Bill A1152 (legislation that prohibits the use of certain fishing gear on artificial reefs) to be heard . Contact Bob Martin, Commissioner, Department of Environmental Protection, (609) 292-2885, and ask him to do the right thing and create a regulation that will restore Federal Aid to New Jersey’s Reef Program.
Finally, please forward this to others and ask that they join us in pursuit of the “right thing”.
As a reminder, General Elections are held in New Jersey on Tuesday, November 8, 2011.
Anthony P. Mauro, Sr, (also known as “Ant” to friends and associates) is Chairman and co-founder of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, New Jersey Outdoor Alliance Conservation Foundation, and New Jersey Outdoor Alliance Environmental Projects. Ant's commitment to the principles of sustainable use of natural resources and environmental stewardship helped to create the New Jersey Angling & Hunting Conservation Caucus (NJA&HC). The NJA&HC is the first outdoor caucus of its kind in New Jersey and is designed to educate opinion leaders and policy makers about the principles of conservation; the foundation for healthy ecosystems, fish and wildlife.
Ant is a public speaker on the topic of conservation and the ways anglers and hunters can become involved in shaping outdoors releated legislative policy. He has authored three books on conservation, hunting and the great outdoors including the controversial and highly regarded, “Color The Green Movement Blue” (available as ebook). His other books include; “Take Me on Safari: A Family Affair” (available as ebook) and “The New Age Hunter”. He also wrote the children's book “Where is Wildbeary?”
Ant is available to speak at your club and to do book signings. ~ Contact him: [email protected]