Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Assembly Proposes to Alter New Jersey Fish and Game Council

Legislation that will revamp the New Jersey Fish and Game Council will be heard in the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on June 14. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its allies are concerned that such legislation will simplify anti-hunters’ involvement in wildlife decision-making.

Assembly Bill 3275, introduced by Assemblyman Michael Panter, D- Shrewsbury, will change the make up of the Fish & Game Council. It will remove the six sportsmen and three farmers who represent various geographical regions, and replace them with seven appointees recommended by the governor. The bill also directs the council to investigate non-lethal wildlife management options prior to setting hunting, fishing or trapping programs, and removes the council’s authority to consider the use and development of fish and wildlife resources for public recreation and food supply when adopting the State Fish and Game Code.

“We are concerned that this bill will result in the end of hunting in the long run,” said Rick Story, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance senior vice president. “The bill plays into the anti-hunting movement’s hands.”

Assembly Bill 3275 also proposes the transfer of the Division of Fish and Wildlife from the Department of Conservation and Economic Development to the Department of Environmental Protection. If the shift occurs, there is a risk that game management activities will take a back seat to environmental projects, and thus wildlife conservation will suffer.

The Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee hearing is June 14 in Committee Room #9, State House Annex in Trenton. New Jersey sportsmen who cannot attend should contact their Assembly members and voice opposition to AB 3275. It is particularly important to make calls today if your Assembly member is on the Environment and Solid Waste Committee. Use the Legislative Action Center at to prepare your message.

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