Bill to limit DEP authority to reduce fishing quotas advances

TRENTON – The Assembly Agriculture Committee released bills today dealing with income tax credits for farmers and fishing and trapping quotas and regulations.

A3840: This bill would prohibit the Department of Environmental Protection from reducing, on its own authority, any fishing quota that has been established for New Jersey by a federal or regional fisheries management entity. It advanced 4-1 with Republican Parker Space opposed.

The Garden State Seafood Association supported the bill, but various conservation groups opposed it. The Audubon Society, for example, is concerned the bill would have far-reaching implications. Mandating legislative action can be a time-consuming process when DEP has the expertise to act more quickly when conservation and health issues arise, the association said.

Sponsor Assemblyman Nelson Albano said the bill could have added into it a statement that in the event of emergencies such as a hurricane the Legislature would have a time limit in which to act.

A946: This bill, passed 5-0, provides New Jersey farmers with a credit against their annual gross income tax by averaging out yearly gains and losses or varying the levels of gains over a four-year period from their farming business. 

The value of the credit would be equal to the difference between a farmer’s income without four-year averaging and with averaging.  The maximum annual credit allowed is $5,000.

A1892: This bill, passed 4-1 with Republican Parker Space opposing, would create the 17-member State Beach Task Force to investigate beach erosion and replenishment issues, as well as consider funding, shore protection technologies, and the impact of the beaches on the economy. 

A3944: This bill would grant the Division of Fish and Wildlife authority to issue permits to manage the practice of  beaver trapping.

In particular, the bill would remove the current restriction of 200 trapping permits in a year.

It cleared the committee unanimously.

AJR71: Designates Wednesday of second week in August as “Assistance Animal Recognition Day.” It passed unanimously.

Bill to limit DEP authority to reduce fishing quotas advances