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New Jersey fights possible ban on shark fishing

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is trying to convince the federal government not to ban shark fishing off the New Jersey coast because it would hurt the tourism industry.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission last month said the state was out of compliance with rules governing 40 species of coastal sharks. The problem was widely blamed on bureaucratic delays and not any substantial issues with the requirements, which included 22 regulations relating to commercial and recreational shark fishing, according to an article in The Press of Atlantic City.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is currently considering the next step after the state was declared out of compliance, which could be a ban on shark fishing. Such a ban could be declared within a matter of days, or the state could be given a longer time period to comply.

The DEP said acting commissioner Bob Martin sent a letter this week to fisheries service assistant administrator for fisheries Eric Schwaab, telling him that reaching compliance is a top priority for New Jersey.

"In these challenging economic times, I am deeply concerned about hurting New Jersey's struggling fishermen and associated businesses through no fault of their own. New Jersey is planning to implement the required measures on an expedited timetable," Martin wrote Schwaab.

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