CHAPTER 459

FORMERLY

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 29

REQUESTING THE STATE LEGISLATURE OF NEW JERSEY TO JOINTLY ESTABLISH A BI-STATE COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE THE STATUS AND MANAGEMENT OF WEAKFISH PROBLEMS IN THE DELAWARE BAY AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLIES AND GOVERNORS OF BOTH STATES.

WHEREAS, the Delaware Bay is generally divided in the middle by the boundary between Delaware and New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, both Delaware and New Jersey independently manage the harvest of Weakfish by widely different laws and regulations within their portion of the Delaware Bay; and

WHEREAS, the Weakfish has been the most significant recreational and commercial fish of the last two decades in Delaware Bay; and

WHEREAS, the Weakfish harvest in the Delaware Bay has dramatically declined in 1989 and there are similar indications for 1990; and

WHEREAS, a recent report was quoted by the newspapers identifying the impingement and entrainment of juvenile Weakfish at the Salem Nuclear Power Plant as a potential cause of the declining Weakfish populations; and

WHEREAS, there is a concern that overharvesting within the Delaware Bay is another potential cause of the declining Weakfish population; and

WHEREAS, the Delaware Bay is recognized as a prime spawning area for Weakfish; and

WHEREAS, there is a concern that the lack of uniform management of the harvest of Weakfish within the Delaware Bay is another potential cause of the declining Weakfish population; and

WHEREAS, a large by-catch mortality of juvenile Weakfish in the North Carolina inshore shrimp trawl fishery is another potential cause of the declining Weakfish populations; and

WHEREAS, the very large ocean harvest of Weakfish off the North Carolina Coast winter trawl fishery is another potential cause of the declining Weakfish population; and

WHEREAS, recent evidence indicates the winter trawl fishery for Weakfish is harvesting

the same stocks of Weakfish that migrate into Delaware Bay during the spring and summer; and

WHEREAS, the decline of Weakfish in the Delaware Bay is causing significant negative economic impact for Delaware and New Jersey businesses that support recreational and commercial fishing; and

WHEREAS, it is imperative that legislative be implemented before the beginning of the 1991 spawning season (recognize to start approximately April 1st) to ensure for the conservation of the weakfish's existence; and

WHEREAS, this is a major bi-state concern.

NOW, THEREFORE:

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives and the Senate of the 135th General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

1. That the Delaware Senate Pro Temp and the Delaware Speaker of the House of Representatives jointly request the New Jersey Speaker of the Assembly and the New Jersey President of the Senate adopt a similar resolution to create a bi-state legislative commission to be known as the Delaware Bay Weakfish Commission to review the probable causes of the decline of the Weakfish population in the Delaware Bay.

2. That the Delaware Bay Weakfish Commission is to submit a preliminary report and recommendations to the Governors and the legislatures of the respective states by January 15, 1991 and submit a final report with recommendations by March 1, 1991.

3. That the Delaware Bay Weakfish Commission be made of up to twenty-two members. The co-chairman will be selected by the appointed members of the two respective states.

4. That' there will be eleven members from each state on the Delaware Bay Weakfish Commission. From each state, one will be the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control or the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection or their designee; two will be state senators to be appointed by the Senate Pro Temp or President of the Senate; two will be members of the House of Representatives or State Assemblymen to be appointed by the Speaker of the House or Assembly; two will be licensed commercial fishermen who net Weakfish in the Delaware Bay, one to be appointed by the Senate Pro Temp or President of the Senate and one to be appointed by the Speaker of the House or Assembly; and four will be recreational fishermen who use hook and line to harvest Weakfish in the Delaware Bay, two to be appointed by the Senate Pro Temp or President or the Senate. and two to be appointed by the Speaker of the House or Assembly. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control for Delaware shall provide appropriate staff needs to the delegation from Delaware and the Department of Environmental Protection in New Jersey shall provide appropriate staff eds to the delegation from New Jersey.

5. In addition there shall be two non-voting members from each state appointed to the commission to assist in the study. These members shall be from an institution of higher education in the respective states with technical expertise in the field of marine studies. In each state one non-voting member shall be appointed by the Senate Pro Temp or President of the Senate and one member shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House or Assembly.

6. Recommendations submitted in the final report must be approved by at least twelve members of the commission.

7. Meetings of the commission will be held alternately in each state.

Approved July 26, 1990.