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Recreational fishing forum set for New Jersey

South Jersey Marina owner and MidAtlantic Tournament president Rick Weber will speak.

South Jersey Marina owner and MidAtlantic Tournament president Rick Weber will address the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce’s Fishing Forum, “Recreational Fishing: Is There a Future?”

The forum will be held Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Greate Bay Country Club.

The purpose of the event is to heighten awareness of the importance of recreational fishing to Cape May County and address the challenges it faces.

According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Jersey ranked fifth among the top 10 coastal states in 2006, with $643.7 million in retail sales related to saltwater fishing. Recreational fishing produces almost 10,000 jobs in the state.

Weber will join a panel of local industry experts who will discuss the problems that affect recreational fishing including regulatory issues, funding, compilation of scientific data and out-of-state competition.

Weber will focus his comments on three primary issues: dredging; New Jersey’s sales and use tax structure; and lastly, the importance of game-fishing tournaments, such as the MidAtlantic, to local economies.

Eleanor Bochkenek, of Rutgers University, will compile information from the discussion and develop a white paper to educate elected officials about the benefits, challenges and promise of recreational fishing in South Jersey.

The Cape May County Chamber of Commerce organized the forum. Pre-registration is required. The Greater Atlantic City Regional and Greater Vineland Chambers of Commerce have joined in support of it.

The event is sponsored, in part, by Tackle Direct, Hutchinson Plumbing & Heating, United Boatmen of New Jersey, the Recreational Fishing Alliance and South Jersey Marina.

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