New Jersey has elected to ban menhaden-reduction fishing in its state waters via a bill that was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Donald DiFrancesco. Reduction vessels, which come to New Jersey waters from Virginia, catch large quantities of menhaden and process the fish onboard, reducing their catch to oil and meal used primarily as animal feed. New Jersey waters were particularly vulnerable to the reduction fleet because the eight surrounding coastal states already have protection for their waters. Menhaden are a staple forage species for many inshore game fish, including striped bass, bluefish and weakfish. The bill was vigorously supported by such grassroots organizations as the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, the Recreational Fishing Alliance and the ad hoc Salty Dogs.
September 21, 2007