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Omega's Response.

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Thanks to everyone else who was "loud and obnoxious" in New Jersey. Just goes to show the class Omega has. For once the legislature didn't go for Omega's "$cience".

 

Fishermen win menhaden fight

 

Published in the Asbury Park Press 1/09/02

N.J. imposes three-mile limit

By KIRK MOORE

STAFF WRITER

Recreational fishing groups are pleased with one of the last pieces of legislation signed by acting Gov. DiFrancesco: a fishing ban that prohibits the taking of menhaden for industrial purposes in state waters.

 

A long-sought goal of organized anglers, the ban targets boats owned by Houston-based Omega Protein, the last major operator in the fish protein industry that at one time was largely based in New Jersey.

 

Omega''''s boats will have to stay outside the three-mile limit, where sportfishing advocates contend commercial netting operations are less likely to disrupt the feeding and migration patterns of other species like bluefish and striped bass that feed on menhaden.

 

"When they get into state waters they''''re very hard to regulate, so we said why not just push them off three miles?" said James Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, one of the advocacy groups that mounted a push for the ban last spring.

 

"This is a bad way to manage fisheries. It''''s not supported by science. . . . The only thing you need to manage fisheries in New Jersey is to be loud and obnoxious," said Barney White, an Omega Protein vice president. The company processes the bony, herring-like fish into animal feed supplements, oils for paints and various products, and edible omega-3 oil for human dietary supplements.

 

"This is a very weak piece of legislation. . . . We''''re examining our options," said White. He contends the menhaden ban violates the Constitution''''s protections for interstate commerce, and stands in opposition to a 1977 Supreme Court decision against a Virginia rule that sought to expel New Jersey-based fishing boats from its waters.

 

Earlier regulations, passed years ago at the insistence of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association and like-minded fishing clubs, required Virginia-based Omega boats to fish no closer than 1.2 miles off the beach.

 

Omega boats were seen fishing five or six miles offshore last summer, so the ban won''''t put them out of business, Donofrio said. White agreed, but argued the law set a bad precedent.

 

"Our position was not that this was going to kill us, but there was no reason to do it," White said. "The Legislature created the Marine Fisheries Council to deal with these issues."

 

But recreational fishing groups narrowly lost a bid through the fisheries council to implement a ban on industrial boats, and appealed to the Legislature to intervene. Assemblyman Steven J. Corodemus, R-Monmouth, and Sen. Andrew R. Ciesla, R-Ocean, sponsored the legislation and DiFrancesco had pledged to sign it. "We''''re very grateful to them," Donofrio said.

 

Part of the food chain

 

Commercial and recreational sides of the fishing community have clashed frequently over menhaden. While apparently plentiful, they are also thought to be a major link in the ocean food chain. The overall numbers of fish -- what biologists call biomass -- are in the tens of thousands of tons, but both sides differ on how much of it can be safely caught without reducing the population too much.

 

"There were a lot of fish way offshore, big fish too. I was at our (Virginia) plant when a load of fish from up New Jersey way came in, and some of them were 18 inches (long). They looked like little tunas," White said.

 

Experts with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, an interstate group that oversees menhaden and conservation rules, last year reported the overall menhaden stock was healthy. But they still were concerned about low numbers of fish less than a year old.

 

That could lead to problems with menhaden down the road, Donofrio said. He also suggested that recreational groups could seek additional limits on commercial netting of menhaden for bait, a sizable small-boat fishery along the Shore. Also called mossbunker or bunker, cut-up menhaden is a bait of choice for recreational anglers and crabbers.

 

"New Jersey is becoming the epicenter of the bait fishery for the East Coast," Donofrio said. Under a rule worked out by the Marine Fisheries Council several years ago, commercial bait fishermen agreed to a limit on the number of boats in their fleet.

 

 

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He (Donofrio) also suggested that recreational groups could seek additional limits on commercial netting of menhaden for bait, a sizable small-boat fishery along the Shore.

 

Now that is something I'd like to see!?!! icon14.gificon14.gificon14.gif

 

Hey Omega...

 

Git out!!!

 

TimS

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HEY OMEGA!!! TAKE THAT!!!

 

biggrin.gifhammer-time.gifcwm14.gifbiggrin.giftongue.gifcwm27.gif

 

WOO-HOO for the loud and obnoxious! That observation is only indicative of how much WE CARE!!! And what it takes to get noticed!

 

Nice job boys!

 

------------------

---- Facin' East, Reel Ranger ----

---- Secretary - Shark River Surf Anglers ----

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NJ anglers were heard loud and clear. Is'nt Democracy a wonderful thing!

 

Fishweewee: There are other non fish sources of Omega 3. Try flax oil. It does'nt taste as bad.

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I wonder if they think we're going to screw up and taint this whole thing. They are trying to make this in to a vendetta type thing. Make no mistake, we stay on them like terrier with a rat in it's mouth! This company spokesman should be...(I've gotta get out of my KY feud'in mindset)

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You Jersey Boys rock!! Great job. I wish I still lived there....banished to Connecticut for now but born and raised there for 35 years.....helps you grow some SIZE cohones!!!!

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