Earlier this week Congressmen Jon Runyan (R-NJ) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) introduced H.R. 6096, the Atlantic Fisheries Statutes Reauthorization Act of 2012. This legislation would reauthorize several acts relating to mid-Atlantic and Northeastern fisheries, including Atlantic Striped Bass and Atlantic Sturgeon.
The bill would reauthorize the Anadromous Fish Conservation Act, the Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act, the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act, and the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Convention Act. The first two acts that are reauthorized by H.R. 6096 would fund projects and grants to help preserve Anadromous fish, including sturgeon, and striped bass populations. The Interjurisfictional Fisheries Act was passed to fund grants to states for the management of fisheries that are spread across jurisdictional lines. The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Act authorized the creation of a joint council between the United States and other member countries to manage fisheries in the northwestern Atlantic.
"I am thrilled to introduce legislation with my New Jersey colleague, Rep. Pallone, that reauthorizes four critical pieces of fisheries conservation legislation," said Rep. Runyan. "This bill will help to protect species like Atlantic Striped Bass and Atlantic Sturgeon, which are very important to New Jersey's commercial and recreational fishing sectors. It will provide the first ever comprehensive survey and stock assessment of the endangered Atlantic Sturgeon in history and a study of the feeding habits of Atlantic Striped Bass in the New York Bight. The fishing industry in New Jersey is a vital part of the local and state economy and provides countless jobs in South Jersey. The federal government must do all it can to protect these industries to ensure their continued success. "
"In New Jersey, commercial and recreational fishing supports nearly 50,000 jobs and is a major driver of our economy. That's why I am pleased to join my New Jersey colleague, Rep. Runyan, to introduce legislation that will support recreational and commercial fishermen and the related industries by reauthorizing a number of vital fisheries conservation programs," said Pallone. "The Atlantic Striped Bass is one of the most important species for recreational fishing community and Atlantic Sturgeon in the region was recently listed as endangered and these re-authorized Acts, along with the improved scientific collection we have included, will enable our fishing industry to have the resources it needs to thrive."
The Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs has scheduled a legislative hearing to begin debate on Congressmen Pallone and Runyan's bill. New Jersey's fishermen and fisheries are a great asset to the state and they must both be afforded the opportunity to continue and flourish.