Last week there was a meeting to consider a proposal to create a Marine Protected Area in Raritan Bay in north Jersey. My friend and New Jersey Fisherman Editor Jim Hutchinson attended the gathering and gave me a brief overview. According to Jim, it is just one man who is making this proposal, and in answer to a direct question, he said he is not sponsored nor is he taking donations from any individual or group. He said this is his idea to protect hunters and fishermen. There were between 200 and 300 hunters and fishermen at the meeting who told him in no uncertain terms that they didn’t want or need his protection. Exactly how closing off access to all that water is going to protect fishermen is unclear.
The next day on his website he claimed he had a good deal of feedback from the meeting and would take all of it into consideration. Once he realizes that he has a very large and very vocal opposition to the MPA, perhaps he will reconsider the proposal. Or perhaps he is one of those people who feels he has to protect us from ourselves.
Anglers have seen the devastation that comes from MPAs. In California, large areas have been closed to fishing with a predicted decline in revenue from fishing-related business. Right now, there is an effort to close many areas in the Florida Keys, and one of the top fishing locations in the state, Biscayne Bay, has been closed by the National Park Service.
As I noted last week, there are always individuals and groups who would love to lock the public out of public areas, including the ocean and bay. It is important for anglers and hunters to be on the lookout for any proposal that even appears the slightest bit like an MPA and be willing to turn out, like our friends in New Jersey, to voice our opposition.
Every year for the past 16, the good folks at Saltfish.net get together in Bowers Beach for fun, food and entertainment. This year Saturday, April 9, is the day for Lurefest, and it will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
I have been a member of Saltfish for several years and it is without a doubt the best fishing forum I have ever seen. I have tried a few others, only to find a bunch of childish behavior, including name calling, worthless reports and general bad feelings among the members. The folks who run Saltfish do not permit any of this, and you will find a jovial crew at Lurefest.
While membership for Saltfish is free, it does cost $10 for admission online or $20 at the door. I always buy a raffle ticket online for $20 that includes my admission plus a chance to win one of the great prizes. This year they will have fishing tackle, charter trips, jewelry for the ladies and gift certificates. The always popular kids' raffle, with more goodies than Santa has in his bag, is free for all kids under 14 years of age, as is their admission. You can pretty much count on each kid going home with a very nice prize.
Then there is the food. Lots of barbecue, game dishes, desserts and plenty of sides. You are asked to bring your own drinks. Some of the cooks show up before dawn to get the grills and smokers going and the results are mouthwateringly good.
Several organizations including the Delaware Saltwater Fly Fishermen, Delaware Mobile Surf Fishermen and the Delaware Department of Fish and Wildlife will be there to give instructions and answer questions. Vendors, including charter boats, tackle, jewelry and clothing, will be available with lots of good stuff for sale.
To join Saltfish, go to www.saltfish.net and register. For more information and to buy admission and raffle tickets, go to www.saltfish.net/store.
Complete guide to camping and wilderness survival
If you do any type of camping, you will be well served by reading the Complete Guide to Camping and Wilderness Survival written by Vin T. Sparano. Vin is editor emeritus of Outdoor Life and has camped from the Catskill Mountains to the African Savannah. He has also enlisted other experts in compiling this very large and informative work.
Want to know how to set up a backpack? It’s in there. How about tying a Bimini knot? It’s in there. Hopefully you will never need the survival information, but if you do, you will know how to build a shelter, find safe food to eat and build a good fire.
The book is published by Universe and has many beautiful photos and informative diagrams. It is available at your favorite bookstore.
Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age. Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast. Eric can be reached at Eburnle@aol.com.