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Author Topic: Saltwater Registry in NJ - A Few Thoughts  (Read 11689 times)
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HutchJr
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« on: December 10, 2009, 02:36:21 PM »

Just wanted to clear up a few misconceptions about saltwater licenses and the saltwater registry legislation that was pulled out of Senate last week (but will no doubt reappear again in early 2010).  Folks had been emailing me, and thought I'd drop in and post a few thoughts from the Recreational Fishing Alliance.

“IF NEW JERSEY DOESN’T GET A LICENSE, THE FED WILL MANDATE ONE”
The federal government does not require states to implement a saltwater license.  The Magnuson-Stevens Act - the law which governs the management of our federal fisheries - was recently reauthorized and includes a new mandate that a phonebook of saltwater anglers to be created in every coastal state; it does not require states to implement a license for funding purposes.  This new amendment was included as effort to improve the quality of information generated by the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey (MRFSS), which is the “fatally flawed” (according to the National Research Council) survey system that federal regulators now use to determine how many fish are harvested by recreational anglers during a single saltwater fishing season. 

Currently, MRSS uses coastal phone books as a data source for contacting households at random to conduct harvest surveys on recreational harvest, a grossly inefficient method of data collection.  MSA requires that a national saltwater registry of anglers be created, with name and contact information stored in a database for each coastal state in America.  Such a program will provide surveyors with the contact information of actual saltwater anglers, and in theory should help improve the harvest information. 

A new federal data collection system is currently being devised in conjunction with this coastal registry initiative called the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP), which will utilize the names and numbers of saltwater anglers fishing within each coastal state.  Similar to the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) which provides the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with a national registry of duck hunters for select harvest surveys, a similar Fisherman Identification Network (FIN) would provide marine surveyors access to the phone numbers of actual saltwater anglers for actively collecting recreational harvest information. Learn more about the HIP at www.fws.gov/hip.
Online and telephone registration for the new federal registry will begin January 1, 2010. Register online for free at www.countmyfish.noaa.gov or call toll free 888-674-7411.  As of 2011, the federal government may impose a charge for registration, which is expected to range from $15 to $25 per angler. It should be noted that the federal government’s registry was supposed to have been in place as of January 1, 2009 in order to improve the effectiveness of reporting in MRFSS. 

“BUT WHERE WILL THE MONEY COME FROM FOR A FREE REGISTRY?”
According to the American Sportfishing Association which lobbied to include a fee for the federal registry in the Magnuson Stevens Act starting in 2011, New Jersey ranked 5th among coastal states in 2006 in terms of retail sales in saltwater fishing.  Anglers here spent over $643 million in 2006 on tackle alone, contributing more than $68 million in state and local tax revenues.  Another $92 million was raised in federal tax revenues.  Out of the $68 million in state and local taxes, our governor allocates a paltry $1.5 or $1.8 out of the general fund for marine fisheries.  Allocating a few more dollars into a successful profit model is called smart investing, you’d think a Goldman Sachs veteran would understand that relationship. http://www.asafishing.org/statistics/saleco_trends/2006sr_salt_sales.html

“LOOK AT THE STATES THAT HAVE A LICENSE, THEY’RE IN GREAT SHAPE!”
Federal delays in implementing the registry components of the new harvest collection system are causing considerable data collection issues up and down the coast with resulting closures on sea bass, amberjack and red snapper.  Ironically, even with a saltwater license in place in states like North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, the federal fisheries service has still mandated these stifling closures on recreational anglers, from black sea bass to red snapper and amberjack.   
Anglers should remember that our coastal fisheries are managed by federal and interstate councils, and states have no authority to supersede federal allocations of migratory coastal fisheries, even with an expensive saltwater license.  While I can appreciate some folks belief that a freshwater and hunting licenses in New Jersey are cool, the fact is that freshwater fishermen don’t have to share largemouth quotas with commercial draggers, and there aren’t trap lines running across the Flat Brook. 

In California as another example, sportfishing supports more than 40,000 jobs and roughly $2 billion in sales annually for sport-fishing equipment alone, according to the Sportfishing Association of California.  California charges residents $41 a year to sportfish in marine waters, and hunting and fishing licenses combined generate about $72 million annually for Fish & Game activities, supporting salaries of 200 or so officers to cover 1,100 miles of coastline.  Because the state can’t afford to pay enforcement officers any longer, a new voluntary $5 tag has been implemented to help pay for salaries. 
http://www.presstelegram.com/business/ci_13941758

“BUT AREN’T THOSE LICENSE MONIES DEDICATED?”
Sure, they’re dedicated to conservation.  And conservation includes officers, secretaries, accountants, managers, desks, chairs, cars, boats, pens, lunches, gas and tolls, scotch tape, you name it.  I know that the hard-working folks in the Division of Fish and Wildlife have been on the short end of the stick for years because of bureaucratic indifference from the top – but it’s time for this state to reinvest in our marine resources without shuffling the bill off to the sporting community (see what happened in California for example, where angling participation is off 30% in the past 10 years of a saltwater license).  The question remains, are these funds really dedicated?  In New York, after implementing a first-ever saltwater fishing license, the powers-that-be in Albany chose to offload departmental salaries out of the state’s general fund and place them directly into the marine dedicated account.  That means essentially that the new saltwater license starts $2 million in the hole as license monies must first pay off salaries before paying a benefit to the resource.  A new lifetime saltwater license ($150) won’t be dedicated into the marine account either, but will be used for the general conservation fund which also pays for upland and freshwater projects.  Certainly not a violation of any laws, but is this truly dedicated?  Some legislators in New York say no! http://www.bignews.biz/?id=823372&keys=Senator-Charles-Schumer-Anglers

Finally gents, while a saltwater license in a utopian society might be able to improve access and pay for parks and dredging and enforcement and division salaries, will it really help us get more access to fish?  North Carolina has a saltwater license – their sea bass fishery is still closed.  Florida is often cited as a license example – their red snapper and amberjack fisheries are still closed.  NO matter what could do with more money at the state level, we’re still at the whim of what seems to me to be a Pew controlled NOAA fisheries who is hell bent on closing fisheries and denying access for recreational anglers. 

While I appreciate the work done by enforcement officers in this state, they’re also monitoring commercial harvesters (shellfish and finfish) while locking up poachers too.  I feel a strong need to dedicate money to addressing these issues, same as you – but are you really willing to foot the whole bill for this without any control over or oversight in how the money is spent, knowing full well that the federal government and inter-state agencies still have the final say in the management of our coastal fisheries

Visit the marine enforcement site and you’ll see our marine division needs assistance for enforcement, that’s for sure.  Hopefully, our new administration will embrace this need and release a few million dollars extra in monies owed to our marine resources.
http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/lawhome.htm

RFA supports Senator Van Drew's efforts, as well as those by Assembly reps Albano and Milam, for working so hard to try to legislate a saltwater registry in New Jersey to (A) count up the number of saltwater anglers, (B) comply with the federal law, (C) begin coordinating efforts in order to get better data, and (D) recognize that sportsmen are voters and shouldn't be burdened with yet another bloated user fee. 

By the way folks, thanks for all your support of RFA and especially the RFA Legal Defense Fund!

Jim Hutchinson
www.joinrfa.org
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Bucktail
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2009, 02:45:59 PM »

Hutch,

Thanks for your quick and comprehensive response.  I am hoping this remains free registry for the anglers here in NJ. thumbs up

-Bob
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2009, 03:06:54 PM »

 

We do not need more money to go to the inept people working in Trenton or DC.

They are into us for millions. Let us see some of the $$$ we have already put up and continue to put up by means of the excise taxes we pay for fishing equipment and marine fuel.
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2009, 08:11:27 PM »

Thanks for the Info Jim  thumbs up
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2009, 08:18:43 PM »

Jim

Great post thank you for the info........I have no problem with a registry/License the hard numbers  of fisherman will only help in our various court battles. I do however have a problem with any fee that is not mandated by law to go toward the fishery/conservation......
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2009, 10:52:31 PM »

Thanks Jim for the input.  Like many of those that feell that we are taxed to high already if we have to that monies must go back into what ever nitch that can best help those that contributed.  In this case conservation and research to better the fisheries.

Thanks once again.

Paul
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« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2009, 11:53:44 AM »


Thanks for the informative information.
 
I understand the concept of creating a list of phone numbers for accurate survey purposes, and it is a great idea. But, in a case where multiple people within one household fish, as say in a typical fishing family, or where a husband owns a boat, and his wife or family occasionally come along on a fishing trip, why should EVERYONE within that household who MIGHT fish, be required to register, when only one phone number, the house phone, would be called?

The actual survey numbers might become flawed,with more fishermen then phone numbers registered.
in addition,I'm sure that if my wife or daughter awnsered the phone when contacted by survey personnel, accurate information might not be provided.

I guess that if the registry remained free, there would be no problem, but to have to pay for everyone within a household, some who might only fish a day or to every year,and who have no idea on how to answer survey questions,  does seem unfair, and flawed. How about registering the phone number, with the number of potential fishermen/women at that number? I do realize that that might also lead to fraud among dishonest fishermen who could give out a registered number, but I feel it might be a more fair option for families. <'((((><
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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2009, 12:02:10 PM »

Darren, any way you look at it the survey that is done will be flawed. I got called once, many years ago. If I remember correctly, they asked how many times I had fished in the past month. How many fish caught, etc. I can't remember what jacket I wore yesterday, yet alone how many fish I caught two-three weeks ago. They will never get accurate numbers with the survey they dol.

The system is rediculous, but then again, so is the NOAA. 
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2009, 12:40:27 AM »

If it's done right, this will work.  As Jim points out in his original post, the idea is to make the registry similar to the H.I.P. program.  Here's how that program works.

When a hunter buys a waterfowl stamp they are asked the following:

Did you hunt migratory birds last year?

If the answer is, "no", the survey ends and the hunter's license is printed.

If the answer is, "yes", then a series of questions are asked with multiple choice answers.

(I'm just going off the top of my head, but this is pretty close)  

How many ducks did you bag?
0-3
4-9
10 or more

How many geese did you bag?
0-3
4-9
10 or more

Do you plan on hunting sea ducks this year?
Will hunt
Will not hunt

Do you plan on hunting Brandt this year?
Will hunt
Will not hunt

Etc.


A questionnaire, similar to this one, given to anglers when they register is the best data collection method.

As far as the costs involved in this registry, the state has had a computerized license program in place for three years now.  All that needs to be done is to add a selection on the license machine for the Saltwater Registry (with the appropriate questionnaire).  Once an angler completes the registration process a tiny 2" X 3" piece of green paper would be printed as proof of registration.  A link on the NJDF&W website would be added so folks can register from their homes as well.

So what extra does this registry cost?
A download and a few extra rolls of green license paper?

I'm sure a few dollars more would be needed to fund a campaign to educate anglers about this registry.  But most of that could be handled by requiring B&Ts and any stores that sell licenses to prominently display a poster outlining the program.

As Jim explained to me, "This is not supposed to be a funding issue – it’s about data collection".

IMO, this is the way to go. thumbs up  

NO SALTWATER LICENSE!


« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 12:43:49 AM by Bucktail » Logged

IrishAyes
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2009, 07:40:03 AM »

I understand the theory behind the survey. My problem is that the survey can be squewed in so many ways.

What is to stop enviros or anyone else hell bent on screwing us from registering and punching in false data? NOTHING.

How many guys keep a log of their trips and what they caught? NOT MANY.

What is to keep someone from stretching their catch report for their ego? NOTHING.

What is to stop someone from under reporting their catch thinking they are 'helping the cause'? NOTHING.

Just too many things in the way of valid data. 

If this is only a registry how will they regulate it on the water? Nothing has been said about if you will be receiving a hard copy that you are registered. 

And yes, I do understand that it is a difficult if not impossible task of trying to determine how many fish are caught during a season.
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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2009, 09:47:35 AM »

Yes, the numbers would be extremely flawed. Take for example myself.
 1.  I'm going to be registered under my HMS permit.
 2.  I'm going to be counted again if I purchase a NY License to fish that side or the bay.
 3. I'm going to be counted again when I purchase my. Virginia license, I go there often.
 4.  I will be counted again when I purchase a Delaware license to fish for Black Drum. at Slaughter Beach.
p
That counts 1man as. 4 Huh
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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2009, 09:54:41 AM »

Yes, the numbers would be extremely flawed. Take for example myself.
 1.  I'm going to be registered under my HMS permit.
 2.  I'm going to be counted again if I purchase a NY License to fish that side or the bay.
 3. I'm going to be counted again when I purchase my. Virginia license, I go there often.
 4.  I will be counted again when I purchase a Delaware license to fish for Black Drum. at Slaughter Beach.
p
That counts 1man as. 4 Huh

Not if you are issued a CID (Conservation Identification Number) when you register.
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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2009, 12:20:44 PM »

Yes, the numbers would be extremely flawed. Take for example myself.
 1.  I'm going to be registered under my HMS permit.
 2.  I'm going to be counted again if I purchase a NY License to fish that side or the bay.
 3. I'm going to be counted again when I purchase my. Virginia license, I go there often.
 4.  I will be counted again when I purchase a Delaware license to fish for Black Drum. at Slaughter Beach.
p
That counts 1man as. 4 Huh

Not if you are issued a CID (Conservation Identification Number) when you register.

The Federal HMS Permit does not require a NJ CID and its only reference # is the *8 digit permit number.

My NJ CID # is 9 digits

NY DEC# is 12 digits

Delawares State FIN # is 6 digits

And Virginia, They don't even require ID or a phone number, beleive it or not.

If all the numbers were the same length, I would be led to beleive that it is a Federal Standard. Even if one state would accept anothers number, it might make sense, who knows? <'((((><

 



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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2009, 01:49:15 PM »

The CID is just an example.  I see your point and it needs to be addressed.  However, I don't see this as a major obstacle.  I'm sure something can be worked out to reconcile all the duplicate names that may occur. 
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« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2009, 02:29:35 PM »

I understand the theory behind the survey. My problem is that the survey can be squewed in so many ways.

What is to stop enviros or anyone else hell bent on screwing us from registering and punching in false data? NOTHING.

There you go thinking like a cop! Grin
Unfortunately, your point is probably a good argument for a "pay" license.  Having to shell out money to take the survey would discourage a lot of that. Tongue

How many guys keep a log of their trips and what they caught? NOT MANY.

Just to clear this up, it was my idea to use the license terminals to administer the questionnaire once a year when an angler registers, not the RFAs.  It works with the waterfowl hunters, probably because the season is shorter and less information is required.  I see your point about not getting accurate information from participants, because they frankly wouldn't be able to remember their catch data accurately enough.

So, perhaps that idea should be scrapped.  I still believe the use of the NJDF&W license terminals would be a good one in terms of registering the anglers at a minimum of cost.  However, it would seem that the (phone) surveys should then be conducted more frequently and apply to a shorter period of time (perhaps a month or even a week).

You have to remember that most people (unlike yourself) don't normally fish more hours in a week than they ever worked!    I'm sure most participants would be able to recall how many stripers or fluke they caught last week and their approximate size.

What is to keep someone from stretching their catch report for their ego? NOTHING.

These catch reports would not be posted and printed along with the angler's name somewhere.  So, there would be no incentive in "stretching their catch report for their ego".  In every practical sense these answers would be anonymously added to the data.

What is to stop someone from under reporting their catch thinking they are 'helping the cause'? NOTHING.

Just too many things in the way of valid data.  

A campaign to educate the angling community would have to be launched, which would not only inform them of the mandatory participation in this program, but also of the importance of them not trying to skew the data either way.

The fact is, other than posting an observer on everyone's boat and more observers every 10 yards along any open stretch of beach, nothing's going to be perfect.  

However, the idea behind this system is to improve the "best available data".  Simply having a registry that contains the contact information of people that actually fish is an improvement over the current system. thumbs up

If this is only a registry how will they regulate it on the water? Nothing has been said about if you will be receiving a hard copy that you are registered.  

As I posted earlier, by using the NJDF&W license terminals an angler would receive a hard copy of their registration that they could produce if they are ever approached by a C.O.  A printable certificate could also be made available to an angler registering online.  This would be similar to the way freshwater fishing licenses are sold.


And yes, I do understand that it is a difficult if not impossible task of trying to determine how many fish are caught during a season.

No doubt there are a few kinks to be ironed out.  But, I definitely favor a free registry over a paid license. thumbs up
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 02:36:13 PM by Bucktail » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2009, 03:15:53 PM »

Absolutely free whatever they go with.

As for my other questions, I believe they are all valid. The idea that it is a good argument for a pay license doesn't hold water with me. PEW has plenty of $$$ to throw at us to screw things up. They don't care what it would cost for a license, they would buy one from their non-profit donations and use it against us. Sorry, I don't trust any of them even a little.

The other issues, they can be argued all day long and both side could present valid points. I just posted the issues I had with it.

It is always good to debate though. Get an idea of how others think.  thumbs up
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« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2009, 05:03:42 PM »

A reply from The home Page write up.

But Jim, we already are taxed on the pole, the tackle, the bait, the gas to get there, the electricity to charge a boat battery, ...

Saltwater fisherman couldn't hurt a species if we tried, compared to mile-long nets.

Why should WE pay for studies and information about fish populations hurt by COMMERCIAL fisherman?

WE SHOULDN"T.

So Call Bob Smith in NJ at 1-732-752-077- and tell him to get the VanDrew bill up before it is too late.  

Making ME a criminal for not PAYING to fish 3 times a year is REVOLTING and a disgrace to our country.

Thank You
Evan Shea
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« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2009, 05:09:56 PM »

Also, no reason this can not be attached to our freshwater license that is already in existance. No extra charge. 
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« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2009, 05:40:41 PM »

A reply from The home Page write up.

But Jim, we already are taxed on the pole, the tackle, the bait, the gas to get there, the electricity to charge a boat battery, ...

Saltwater fisherman couldn't hurt a species if we tried, compared to mile-long nets.

Why should WE pay for studies and information about fish populations hurt by COMMERCIAL fisherman?

WE SHOULDN"T.

So Call Bob Smith in NJ at 1-732-752-077- and tell him to get the VanDrew bill up before it is too late. 

Making ME a criminal for not PAYING to fish 3 times a year is REVOLTING and a disgrace to our country.

Thank You
Evan Shea


I agree!  thumbs up

Also, no reason this can not be attached to our freshwater license that is already in existance. No extra charge. 

Attaching it to your freshwater license would make everyone pay $22.50 whether they fished the sweetwater or not. 

Plus, we don't want to register those who are only going fish in freshwater.

I do like the idea of using the NJDF&W licensing terminals to register everyone for free though.
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« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2009, 05:50:40 PM »

Quote from: Bucktail

[b
Attaching it to your freshwater license would make everyone pay $22.50 whether they fished the sweetwater or not.  [/b]

Plus, we don't want to register those who are only going fish in freshwater.

I do like the idea of using the NJDF&W licensing terminals to register everyone for free though.


Good point. Disregard.  Grin
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