New Jersey joined the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact on Friday, giving the state more ways to protect wildlife from poachers and others who break hunting, fishing and trapping laws.
As a member, the state will receive notices of violations from other states, and the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife will review the convictions and decide whether they meet the requirements for license suspension in New Jersey.
New Jersey also will provide information on in-state violations to other states.
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“This ... will greatly enhance our Division of Fish and Wildlife’s ability to protect and manage our wildlife resources,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. “Any person who has their license privileges suspended in one member state may now also have them suspended in all other member states. In addition, the compact prevents convicted poachers who are under revocation in one state from hunting, fishing or trapping in other states.”
Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation in January to bring New Jersey into the compact.
New Jersey and Nebraska had been the only two states that weren’t part of the compact, said one of the sponsors of the legislation to join, Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, after the bill became law.
The compact covers violations concerning the pursuit, possession or taking of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks, shellfish and crustaceans.
The bill was sponsored in the Assembly by Bob Andrzejczak, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic; Bruce Land, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic; and Adam Taliaferro, D-Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland.
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Sponsors in the Senate were Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, and Christopher Connors, R-Ocean, Burlington, Atlantic.
New Jersey issued about 35,000 hunting licenses to state residents and an additional 3,775 to out-of-state hunters in 2015.
“Someone is always trying to beat the law,” Mazzeo said in January when the bill was signed. “If you are not part of it and these type of people know that, it gives them an opportunity.”
Anyone who has a license privilege suspension in New Jersey and is planning to hunt, fish or trap in another state must contact the other state to verify whether they may legally hunt, fish or trap there, the DEP said.
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New Jersey residents who don’t comply with a citation or summons in another member state may face a $50 fine and the suspension of all privileges to take or possess wildlife in New Jersey until the citation has been satisfied, according to DEP.
“Joining the compact protects New Jersey’s wildlife resources and that of member states by deterring violators from continuing their illegal activities and sends a clear message to all that such behavior will not be tolerated,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Larry Herrighty.
More information on the compact, including which states are members and which violations with prescribed suspensions will be recognized in New Jersey and shared with member states, is available on the Fish and Wildlife website at njfishandwildlife.com/violators_compact.htm.