The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife is informing the public that recently signed legislation (A4036/S2726) has established new licensing and monitoring requirements for New Jersey’s commercial Atlantic menhaden fishery in 2013. The significant changes in how menhaden will be managed this year result from the implementation of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. As part of Amendment 2, New Jersey was allocated 11.19% of the newly established total coastwide quota for Atlantic menhaden. In 2013, this equates to an allocation for New Jersey’s commercial Atlantic menhaden fishery of 18,924.42 metric tons (MT), equivalent to approximately 41.728 million pounds.
New Jersey has allocated its 2013 menhaden quota by gear type, with each gear type having qualifying criteria to obtain a recently established New Jersey Menhaden Landing License, a separate season, and mandatory electronic reporting requirements. Additionally, a New Jersey Menhaden Dealer License is also being established and all menhaden landed in New Jersey must be sold to a licensed menhaden dealer who must report landings electronically on a weekly basis. These licensing and reporting requirements are necessary to effectively and efficiently monitor the State’s Atlantic menhaden quota since any overages occurring in 2013 will be deducted from the State’s 2014 commercial menhaden quota.
The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Administration has recently mailed a notice to as many prospective Atlantic menhaden commercial fishery participants, as possible, informing them of the significant changes occurring within the State’s menhaden management program this year. Prospective participants are requested to submit eligibility documents for the new landing license and prospective dealers are being requested to obtain their dealer license, as soon as possible. Timing is critical since all landings to date will be applied to the State’s 2013 quota and subsequent landings this year will have to be closely monitored to prevent a quota overage.
The entire 5 page letter that was sent to Atlantic menhaden commercial fishery participants is available on the Division’s website. The letter contains extensive details on who needs a landing license to participate in the menhaden fishery, the fees for such a license, eligibility criteria for obtaining a landing license for each gear type, the specifics of the dealer license and information on where/how to have specific questions answered.