A bill to provide an extra $1.2 million to the state Bureau of Marine Fisheries for shellfish and fisheries management was signed into law Friday by Gov. Phil Murphy.
It’s an increase to the $2.468 million allocated in the governor’s proposed fiscal year 2019 budget, said bill sponsors, bringing the total appropriation to $3.668 million for the coming fiscal year.
The Bureau of Marine Fisheries in the state Department of Environmental Protection is charged with protecting, conserving and enhancing marine fisheries resources and habitats.
“This will undoubtedly provide a big boost for tourism and for fishermen in South Jersey,” said co-sponsor Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak, D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland.
He said the bureau’s work to ensure sustainable fisheries will allow tourism and commercial and recreational fishing to thrive.
The bill was also co-sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblymen Bruce Land, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic; and Vince Mazzeo, D-Atlantic; and in the Senate by Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic.
Bureau materials say it conducts research and inventory projects to provide data on fishery resources and on fishing, “to develop and implement sound management plans.”
It also reviews and comments on development proposals that might affect fisheries.
New Jersey has six major commercial fishing ports that this law would primarily affect, although the law would affect other ports as well: Atlantic City, Barnegat Light, Belford in Monmouth County, Cape May, Point Pleasant and Port Norris.
New Jersey’s commercial fishermen catch more than 100 million pounds of seafood each year, worth more than $100 million, the sponsors said. Fishing also contributes to the state’s $16 billion tourism industry, they said.