From RICHARD DEGENER, Staff Writer, pressofAtlanticCity.com
New Jersey has shut down its river herring fishery partly because it does not have the personnel or the funding to collect the data it needs.
That means fishermen who net the herring, mostly for the bait business, can no longer do so. Recreational anglers, including fly fishermen, no longer may target them. If an angler catches a river herring by accident, it now must be thrown back.
State Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin closed the fishery in state waters Thursday, said Brandon Muffley, head of the state Bureau of Marine Fisheries.
The state had been under a deadline from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to prove the fishery was sustainable. It may be sustainable, Muffley said, but they do not have the staff to prove it.
The lack of funds and personnel could become a factor again next year with another fish from the herring family, although Muffley said efforts are under way to come up with the data needed.
“Shad is following the same path. We need a sustainability plan by 2013, or the shad fisheries are closed,” Muffley said
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