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spectr17
12-25-2002, 07:57 PM
Shore legislators: Saltwater license is anti-fisherman

Asbury Park Press

12/24/02

By MICHAEL AMSEL, TOMS RIVER BUREAU

Legislators from Monmouth and Ocean counties voiced their opposition yesterday to the idea of requiring saltwater fishing licenses in New Jersey.

As reported in the Asbury Park Sunday Press, the state's fish and wildlife director has proposed requiring such licenses and using the proceeds to more than double the size of New Jersey's marine fishing, research and regulatory work force.

One research firm estimates a saltwater license would cost $20.25 for residents and $31.50 for nonresidents, based on what New Jersey charges freshwater anglers.

Assemblyman Steven J. Corodemus, R-Monmouth, said the proposed license -- which would require legislative approval -- would wind up costing Shore communities' economies.

"A saltwater fishing license would seriously impact our tourism and our economy," Corodemus said.

Assemblyman David W. Wolfe, R-Ocean, said he doesn't see a need for the license.

"If such a thing goes into effect, we would lose a popular pastime at the Shore," Wolfe said. "We were opposed to the increase in boat fees that the governor proposed last summer, and we are opposed to this."

Assemblyman Sean Kean, R-Monmouth, said the state should find other sources of income instead of trying to make money on the backs of saltwater fishermen.

"While I agree on the need for increased marine management, I don't believe we should make people pay a tax to cast a line into the ocean," Kean said.

Sen. Joseph A. Palaia, R-Monmouth, took a similar stance, saying: "From a sales tax on fishing equipment to taxes on boat fuel, fishermen already pay plenty to fish. I don't think it's right to ask them to shoulder any more of the load."

Advocates for such licenses say requiring anglers to pay annually for the privilege of wetting a hook could raise around $6 million, boost the state Division of Fish and Wildlife's marine fisheries budget by 170 percent and more than double the size of the agency's staff.

Licenses have been required of freshwater fishermen for years, and their fees pay for statewide stocking of streams and ponds with hatchery-raised trout.

Michael Amsel: (732) 557-5733 or mamsel@app.com