(11/P21) TRENTON - Governor Christie signed a bill into law today that creates a free State saltwater fishing registry in New Jersey, one that will comply with federal requirements and will not financially impact the State's saltwater anglers.
The creation of a State registry will allow New Jersey anglers to avoid a $15 saltwater registration fee imposed by the federal government as of Jan. 1.
"Fishing from our shores has been and should remain free to our residents. Some simple pleasures in life should be not be subject to a new unfunded federal mandate,'' said Governor Christie.
Creation of a free State registry was lauded by the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance which worked closely with the Governor's Office and the DEP on this issue.
"We realize the DEP has profound responsibilities to protect public health, safety and the environment, all with increasingly limited room for budgetary maneuvers,'' said Anthony Mauro, chairman of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance. "So we applaud DEP Commissioner Bob Martin for working to implement this bill in the most efficient means possible within his agency's current budget.''
Saltwater fishing is an important economic engine for New Jersey, providing 38,000 jobs and a $1.2 billion annual boost to the state's economy, noted Commissioner Martin.
"The DEP recognizes the importance of protecting and managing our marine resources for the benefit of the environment, hundreds of thousands of anglers who enjoy this resource, to our multi-billion dollar tourism industry, and the thousands of jobs related to saltwater fishing,'' said Commissioner Martin, who thanked the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance for its efforts.
"We will work to get this new registry on line as soon as possible,'' Commissioner Martin added.
Beginning on Jan. 1, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration required saltwater anglers in states like New Jersey without a state saltwater fishing registry or saltwater fishing license to pay $15 to register with that agency. The registry requirement is part of an effort to improve the quality of data used in fisheries management, according to NOAA.