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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 7, 2003

Contact: Jack Kaskey
609-984-1795

Record Black Drum Disqualified

(03/97) TRENTON --- A black drum caught in Delaware Bay by Walter Frankowski of Browns Mills, Burlington County, has been disqualified from the New Jersey State Record Fish Program.

Frankowski's application to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) indicated the fish weighed 160 pounds when he caught it May 15. The DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife awarded him the state record in June.

The record was disqualified last week following an investigation by the division's Bureau of Law Enforcement that found the fish was improperly weighed at the Yardville Supply Company in Hamilton Township, Mercer County. The fish was weighed in an ice-filled cooler on a truck scale that has a margin of error of 40 pounds. In addition, the weighmaster who signed the record-fish certification had an expired license and did not witness the weighing.

The Department of Law and Public Safety - Division of Consumer Affairs' Office of Weights and Measures (OWM) is investigating Yardville Supply Company's weighing practices.

"Proper weighing procedures are critical to maintaining the integrity and validity of the New Jersey State Record Fish Program," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "In light of this unfortunate situation, we are modifying the Record Fish and Skillful Angler programs to clarify the application requirements and weight certification process."

In addition to Frankowski's Record Fish Program application, his submission to the Skillful Angler Program also has been rejected. The largest 2003 skillful angler entry for black drum so far this year is 97 pounds caught from Delaware Bay in June.

The state record black drum now reverts to a 105-pound fish caught in 1995 by George Newett at Slaughter Beach on Delaware Bay.

The Record Fish Program honors the largest species of fish ever caught in the state, while the Skillful Angler Program honors the largest species of fish caught each year. Both programs have a specific list of eligible freshwater and saltwater species and are based on weight alone (there are no line classes). Scale certification documentation, specifically the Certificate of Inspection/Test Report and Registration Certificate issued by OWM as well as a weighmaster's signature are necessary for the Record Fish Program. The Skillful Angler Program requires weigh-in at an accredited establishment with a witness' signature. Other rules apply for both programs. For more information or to request an application, call 609-633-7768. Visit the Division's website at www.njfishandwildlife.com for a complete list of state record fish.

 

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