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September 1, 1999

For more information contact:
Bruce Halgren at 609-748-2020

The Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife and the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council have developed regulatory proposals regarding several marine species that will be published in the September 7, New Jersey Register. A public hearing to discuss the proposals has also been scheduled for September 22, 7 p.m. at the Richard Stockton College, A-Wing Lecture Hall, Jimmie Leeds Road in Pomona, Atlantic County.

"Many of the proposed regulations will enable our state to comply or be compatible with coastwide management plans of the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the New England Fishery Management Council or the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, while others have been developed to address anglers' concerns regarding fisheries management within New Jersey," said Division Director Bob McDowell.

Among the species slated for new management measures are blue crabs, lobster, winter flounder, summer flounder, striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, shad, scup, Atlantic herring and menhaden.

Regulatory proposals regarding the recreational fishery include an increase in the minimum size limit for winter flounder from 10 inches to 11 inches in one-half inch increments over two years and a clarification of the upper limit of the striped bass spawning area in the Delaware River. Party and charter vessels will also be required to possess a Federal bluefish permit to take bluefish. In addition, the Federal permit to sell bluefish has been changed to a vessel permit, which will not be valid when party or charter vessels are carrying passengers for hire.

Regulatory proposals regarding the commercial fishery include a modification to the Delaware Bay Crab Dredge Area; a change in the sale size of female crabs from four and three-quarters to four and one-half inches; a series of alternatives for limiting entry and limiting pot use in the lobster fishery; limited entry provisions for the shad fishery; the establishment of a 150-pound landing limit for weakfish taken by any gear other than otter trawl, gill net, pound net or hook and line; a modification in the number of seasons, seasonal quotas, trip limits, reporting requirements and landing time in the summer flounder fishery; a change in the distance from shore that a purse seine vessel may fish for menhaden for bait in the Raritan and Sandy Hook bays; and a prohibition on the use of otter trawls by vessels greater than 165 feet in length and 3,000 horsepower in New Jersey waters.

Written comments regarding the proposals must be submitted by October 7, 1999 to: Ann Zeloof, Esq., DEP Docket No. 20-97-10/640, DEP Office of Legal Affairs, P.O. Box 402, Trenton, NJ 08625-0402.

Individuals may obtain copies of filed documents from the Office of Administrative Law, 9 Quakerbridge Plaza, P.O. Box 049, Trenton, NJ 08625-0049 for a fee. Call 609-588-6613 for more information and be sure to cite proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 7:25 - 14.1, 14.2, 14.4, 14.5, 14.7, 14.10, 14.16, 14.17, 14.18, 18.1, 18.12, 18.14 and 22.3. Copies of the proposals will also be available at the public hearing. The "NJ Register" is available for review at all major libraries.