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State of New Jersey
Executive Order #20

Governor James J. Florio

WHEREAS, the Delaware Bay is generally divided in the middle by the boundary between the State of New Jersey and the State of Delaware; and

WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey and the State of Delaware have attempted to independently manage the harvest of weakfish in the Delaware Bay through divergent laws and regulations; and

WHEREAS, despite these efforts, the number of weakfish that use the Delaware Bay as their principal spawning area declined dramatically in 1989 and there are indications that this decline will continue in the future; and

WHEREAS, threats to the weakfish population and the environmental integrity of the Delaware Bay are a bi-state concern which, if not addressed, could result in a negative impact upon the recreational and commercial fishing industry, as well as affect the overall economies of the State of New Jersey and the State of Delaware; and

WHEREAS, weakfish have been a significant recreational and commercial fish in the Delaware Bay during the last two decades; and

WHEREAS, the management and protection of the Delaware Bay and its natural resources are of great concern to the governments of both States; and

WHEREAS, the State of Delaware has enacted House Joint Resolution No. 29, approved by the Governor of the State of Delaware on July 26, 1990, which Resolution requested that the State of New Jersey enter into a joint commission to investigate the causes of the decline of the weakfish population and to stem the tide of that decline; and

WHEREAS, it is imperative that action must be taken before the beginning of the 1991 spawning season to ensure the conservation of the weakfish;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JAMES J. FLORIO, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

1. There is hereby established a joint study commission with the State of Delaware, which commission shall be known as the Delaware Bay Weakfish Action Commission with a membership of 22 members. The 11 members appointed from the State of New Jersey shall consist of:

a. The Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection or her designee;

b. Two members of the Senate, to be appointed by the Governor, each a member of a different political party; two members of the General Assembly to be appointed by the Governor, each a member of a different political party;

c. Six public members to be appointed by the Governor, two members shall be licensed commercial fishermen who net weakfish in the Delaware Bay, two shall be recreational fishermen who use hook and line to harvest weakfish in the Delaware Bay, and two members shall be boating captains who utilize the Delaware Bay.

2. In addition to the 11 voting members, two non-voting members shall be appointed by the Governor, and both non-voting members shall be employed by an institute of higher education with technical experience in the field of marine studies.

3. The Commission shall convene as soon as practicable after the appointment of its members, to select a co-chairperson who shall serve jointly with the co-chairperson selected by the members of the Commission appointed by the State of Delaware.

4. It shall be the duty of the Commission to investigate the status and management of the weakfish that inhabit the Delaware Bay, as well as the cause of the decline of the weakfish population in the Delaware Bay, and to inquire into ways in which the decline of this weakfish population may be corrected.

5. The Department of Environmental Protection and the Marine Fisheries Council shall provide the members of the Commission appointed from this State with whatever staff assistance that the Commission may require in order to properly perform its duties;

6. The Commission shall issue a preliminary report of its findings, conclusions and recommendations to the Governors and the Legislatures of both States by January 15, 1991. The Commission shall issue a final report of its findings, conclusions and recommendations along with any proposed legislation which it may desire to the Governors and the Legislatures of the respective States by March 1, 1991. Recommendations submitted in the final report must be approved by at least 12 voting members of the Commission.

7. Meetings of the Commission shall be held alternately in each State.

8. This Order shall take effect immediately and shall supersede any prior Executive Order with which it may be inconsistent.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal
this 18th day of October in the
Year of Our Lord, one thousand
nine hundred and ninety, and of the
Independence of the United States,
the two hundred and fifteenth.

/s/ James J. Florio
GOVERNOR

Attest:

/s/ Andrew Weber
Chief Counsel to the Governor

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