Notice of Rule Proposal
Proposed Amendments: N.J.A.C. 7:12
Take notice that the NJ Department of Environmental Protection is proposing amendments of N.J.A.C. 7:12. A statement of the substance of the proposal follows:
These regulations affect the classification of New Jersey waters concerning acceptability for harvesting shellfish.
The proposed amendments will result in the downgrade of approximately 293 acres of shellfish waters from Special Restricted to Prohibited in the following locations, (120 acres in the Navesink River, 150 acres in Branchport Creek, a tributary to the Shrewsbury River, and 23 acres in Tuckerton Creek). This proposal also includes the following upgrades: 1,050 acres of shellfish waters located in Keyport Harbor from Prohibited to Special Restricted; 110 acres located in Crook Horn Creek from Seasonal-November to April to Approved; and 221 acres in Sunset Lake from Special Restricted to Seasonal-January to April.
The Department is proposing to amend N.J.A.C. 7:12-3.2(a)20viii to accurately describe the location of the closure markings located at Cape Horn Creek in the Mullica River Great Bay area.
Additionally, the Department is proposing to amend language in section 7:12-1.5(d) to establish the Vibrio parahaemolyticus Management Plan. The Vibrio parahaemolyticus Management Plan serves as a document by which the Department establishes shellfish harvest control measures which can include restrictions on the hours of the harvest of shellfish as per the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, (NSSP), requirements to minimize the growth of the pathogen and consequently reduce the risk of illness for the protection of public health. Requirements implemented through the Vibrio parahaemolyticus Management Plan have been developed through consultation and cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, (DHSS), the NJDEP WM&S, Bureaus of Marine Water Monitoring, Division of Fish & Wildlife Shellfisheries and Marine Law Enforcement, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, (FDA).
The Department is proposing to amend N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.13 to include the restoration of shellfish beds as part of the scientific and non-human consumption program. The restoration of shellfish beds includes, among other activities, the gardening of shellfish for non-human consumption in an attempt to help restore shellfish to water areas where they have been depleted.
In addition, the Department is proposing to establish that the Shellfish Resource Recovery Steering Committee (SRRSC) will review all applications for a scientific collection permit. Following this review, the SRRSC will make a recommendation regarding the scientific collection permit application to the Commissioner of the Department or his or her designee. The premise underlying this review is to better ensure the safety of shellfish consumed in the State. The SRRSC consists of representatives from the WM&S, Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Marine Enforcement and Bureau of Shellfisheries and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Food and Drug Safety Program.
The proposal is scheduled to be published in the New Jersey Register dated December 21, 2009. A copy of the proposal is available by contacting:
Deborah Watkins, Supervising Environmental Specialist
Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 405 Stoney Hill Road
Leeds Point, NJ 08220
For the full version of the proposed amendments (in PDF format) please, click here.
Copies can also be obtained from LexisNexis Customer Service at (800) 223-1940 or www.lexisnexis.com/bookstore. Be advised that there may be a fee for obtaining a copy of the proposal from some sources.