Bill may change makeup of Fish and Game Council

My town of residence, Plumsted Township in Ocean County, has thou sands of woodland acres with hun dreds of streams, ponds and lakes that have provided generations of families fishing and hunting oppor – tunities for recreation and food supply. However, pending state legislation could change what we have all been accustomed to and enjoyed.

State Assembly bill 3275 proposes major changes to the 1948 law that established the state Fish and Game Council. Under A-3275 there would be revisions in both the member ship of the Fish and Game Council, as well as its authority.

Presently, and since 1948, the Fish and Game Council has been comprised of 11 members with knowledge and interest in the conservation of fish and game as follows: three farmers, recom mended by the state agriculture convention; six sportsmen, recom mended by the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs; one citizen member knowledgeable in land use management and soil conservation practices; and the chairperson of the Endangered and Nongame Species Advisory Committee.

Under A-3275, the Fish and Game Council membership would be re duced from 11 to seven members, all of whom would be politically appointed in the future with no re quirement to have farmers or sportsmen on the council.

Additionally, A-3275 proposes to revise the authority of the Fish and Game Council by expanding its duties to investigate the use of “non-lethal alternatives for deal ing with wildlife.”

Significantly, a major revision regarding the Fish and Game Council’s authority to adopt a Fish and Game Code is proposed by removing the follow ing phrase, “for use and develop ment of fish and game for public recreation and food supply” and replacing it with new wording, “for the purpose of providing a properly managed and balanced system of protection, propagation, control and conservation of fresh water fish, game birds, game ani mals, and fur-bearing animals in this state.”

Last, but not least, the Division of Fish and Game will not only have its name changed to Fish and “Wildlife” (removing all references to “game”), but the proposed new Division of Fish and Wildlife will no longer be defined as being in the state Department of Conservation and Economic Development, rather, in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). I look forward to personally hearing from and speaking with my constituents re garding A-3275.

Ron Dancer state assemblyman

30th District