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January 25, 2001

MULTI-SPECIES REGULATIONS PROPOSED

For more information contact:
Bruce Halgren at (609) 748-2020

The Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife and the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council have developed a regulatory proposal regarding several marine species that will be published in the February 5, 2001 New Jersey Register. A public hearing to discuss the proposed regulations has also been scheduled for 7 p.m. on February 20 at the Richard Stockton College, A-wing Lecture Hall, Jimmie Leeds Road in Pomona, Atlantic County.

"Many of the proposed regulations will enable our state to comply or be compatible with coastwide management plans of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "Other modifications were developed to address anglers' concerns regarding fisheries management in New Jersey, while still others were made to correct, clarify or simplify existing regulations. In addition, new aquaculture regulations are being proposed to comply with provisions of the New Jersey Aquaculture Development Act."

Among the species slated for new management measures include blue crab, lobster, dogfish, striped bass, weakfish, tautog, shad, black drum, summer flounder, Atlantic croaker, scup, black sea bass, horseshoe crab and Atlantic menhaden. Proposals also focus on statewide aquaculture practices.

Highlights of the proposed amendments follow:

Blue crab regulations are proposed to regulate the marking and placement of blind crab pot lines (line of submerged pots).

Lobster regulations are proposed to provide new permits to use lobster pots for recreational fishermen, otter trawl fishermen and lobster pot fishermen with only a recent history in the fishery.

Regulations are proposed to manage the black drum recreational and commercial fisheries. Provisions include a 16-inch minimum size limit, a three fish recreational possession limit, a 75,000-pound annual commercial quota and a 15,000-pound commercial trip limit.

Regulations are proposed to clarify provisions of the shad permit application process and to increase the harvest/possession limit for the Shad Incidental Harvest Permit from 150 to 300 pounds.

Spiny dogfish regulations are proposed to require NMFS vessel and dealer permits to sell or purchase spiny dogfish and to establish trip limits and seasonal closures as set by the NMFS or the ASMFC.

Summer flounder regulatory modifications are proposed to allow better quota management and to allow by-catch summer flounder to be individually frozen and landed.

Regulations are proposed to manage the Atlantic croaker otter trawl fishery through a mesh size provision of 3.75 inches stretched mesh.

Scup and black sea bass regulations are proposed to be modified to allow the implementation of trip limits set by the NMFS or the ASMFC in a more timely manner.

Horseshoe crab regulations are proposed to establish a quota of 297,680 horseshoe crabs, to require weekly telephone reporting and to extend the current harvest prohibitions to include the man-made ditches between, but not including, Adlers Ditch and Riggins Ditch on the Delaware Bay.

Regulations are proposed to control the importation of aquacultured products. Specific provisions include the requirement of a permit to import aquatic organisms into New Jersey for placement into the waters of the state for aquaculture purposes, the establishment of an aquaculture technical committee and record keeping requirements.

Regulations are also being proposed to provide a method to distinguish the products of commercial aquaculture from wild caught stock. Specific provisions include the requirement of accurate and dated documentation to accompany aquacultured products in transit or while in possession for sale, the establishment of a list of aquacultured species that must be marked or tagged in a manner approved by the Department and various other record-keeping requirements.

Atlantic menhaden regulations are proposed to prohibit the taking of menhaden from the marine waters of the state for the purpose of fishmeal reduction.
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Written comments regarding the proposed amendments must be submitted by March 7, 2001 to the NJDEP, Office of Legal Affairs, P.O. Box 402, Trenton, NJ, 08625-0402, Attn: Ann Zeloof, Esq., DEP Docket No. 36-00-12/147.

Individuals may obtain copies of filed documents from the Office of Administrative Law, 9 Quakerbridge Plaza, P.O. Box 049, Trenton, NJ 08625-0049 for a fee. The Office of Administrative Law can be contacted at (609) 588-6613 to determine copying fees. Be sure to specify proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 7:25-14.1, 14.2, 14.4, 14.5, 14.7, 14.10, 14.16, 14.17, 14.18, 18.1, 18.12, 18.14 and 22.3. Copies will also be available at the public hearing.