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I don't know if anyone if this issue had already been posted or not, but I thought I'd bring it up….

Has anyone heard of this issue threatening the fishing down in the VA Beach area? Maybe we should all join the link at the bottom…


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NEPTUNE, NJ--A nationwide dispute between recreational fishermen and ocean environmental groups has found its way to New Jersey, with environmental activists expressing opposition to a Freedom to Fish Act fishing advocates are supporting in the New Jersey Legislature.

The New Jersey-based Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) says the act is a defensive move against environmental group campaigns to create "marine protected areas (MPA)," where recreational fishing and commercial seafood harvests could be controlled or possibly banned.

Identical versions of the New Jersey right-to-fish legislation, Senate Bill 2323 and Assembly Bill 3326, have gone through initial reviews by legislative committees.

The bills would "prohibit closures to rod and reel fishing unless there is a clear indication that it's a cause of a specific conservation problem," says RFA Executive Director James Donofrio. The campaign, Donofrio says, is a reaction to recreational fishing being criticized by "radical environmental organizations."

The RFA is seeking such legislation at the federal level and in California, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Virginia, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

The controversy is rooted in fishing closures around California's Catalina Islands, where an MPA has been established to help protect natural resources, including fish species and undersea kelp beds.

New Jersey's Marine Fisheries Council already has the power to approve or reject changes to fishing regulations. The legislative proposal to toughen standards for marine sanctuaries also comes at a time when the council is refusing to supports state Department of Environmental Protection efforts to further restrict the commercial horseshoe crab bait industry on Delaware Bay.

Nationally, fishermen and environmental groups are divided on the costs and benefits of closing some areas to fishing.

The Ocean Conservancy says effective networks of MPAs could help restore fish stocks to higher levels by providing fish sanctuaries and spillover effects such as allowing more young fish to enter those populations.
This is from the NAFC

The Recreational Fishing Alliance is a national, grassroots political action organization representing individual sport fishermen and the sport fishing industry. The RFA Mission is to safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs and ensure the long-term sustainability of U.S. saltwater fisheries. For more information, call 1-888-JOIN-RFA.

Web site:
http://www.savefish.com/
 
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