PALLONE BELIEVES STRIPED BASS MORATORIUM WILL NOT OCCUR IF STATE ACTS EARLY NEXT WEEK
Washington, D.C. --- With the possibility of a striped bass moratorium being ordered by federal officials this week, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today had discussions with both Dr. William Hogarth, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Director, and Rebecca Lent, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs at NMFS, and concluded that a moratorium will not occur if new fishing rules are approved by the Senate and the governor early next week.
Pallone said the federal officials are sympathetic to the fact that the flooding of the Delaware River prevented Senators from approving the new rules yesterday. While Dr. Hogarth was legally bound to sign the order calling for a moratorium yesterday, there are several additional steps that must be taken before the moratorium actually goes into effect. The New Jersey congressman believes these steps will further delay the moratorium, and will actually prevent a moratorium from ever taking place if the state acts early next week.
In addition to his conversation with the two NMFS officials, Pallone also sent a letter to Dr. Hogarth today asking that the federal agency delay a moratorium for a week. Pallone's letter follows.
September 21, 2004
Dr. William Hogarth
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Dear Dr. Hogarth:
I am writing to request that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) postpone the New Jersey striped bass moratorium decision for one week.
The New Jersey state government has been making every effort to adhere to the striped bass management plan and avoid a moratorium. In fact, State Senate President Richard Codey, called an emergency session on Monday, September 20th, to move forward with changes to the fishing rules that were authorized by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).
However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the statehouse was closed on Monday due to the flooding caused by Hurricane Ivan, and the emergency session has to be postponed until the beginning of next week.
As you know, recreational fishing is extremely vital to New Jersey's economy. Therefore, postponing the decision by one week will allow the Senate to reconvene to vote on the striped bass fishing rules. Consequently, our fishermen can continue fishing for striped bass, therefore keeping our hard working, fishing-related businesses operating.
Please understand that both the Senate and Governor McGreevey are committed to signing the bill in order to come into compliance with the striped bass management plan. NMFS should take the flooding of the New Jersey statehouse into account and postpone the placement of even a temporary moratorium on striped bass fishing in New Jersey until the state has passed its legislation.
Frank Pallone, Jr.
Member of Congress