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The creation of an NMS hopefully will result in overall positive changes, but one always has to be careful that the process does not result in more negative changes than positive changes.

The following letters are statements of concern. They are gratefully received and the concerns will be incorporated in the overall thinking for the NMS design. Some of those concerns will be dealt with in the nomination document, and some will be a planning function of the actual NMS. Some concerns may not be a function of the creation of the NMS, but rather may be a function of existing human impact on the NMS and will require compromise regardless of the existence of the NMS. 

We post these letters to keep these concerns on the table for continued discussion. Possibly some of the below concerns will be alleviated and the letter writers will withdraw or amend their concerns. Some of the letter writers will also have joined in on discussions during public presentations and meetings and we are particularly grateful for their input and efforts. Some of the letter writers may have decided to support the concept and chosen to become part of the discussion in favor of the NMS. 

As a result of discussion of concerns during presentations and public meetings, and with the help of those who have raised concerns, it may be helpful to consider the following: 

400 years ago the NMS was a place where people lived, took care of their families, played, raised kids, paddled, swam, hunted, fished, and discussed their meaning of life. Today, the thinking behind the NMS has the same goals; to help people to live, take care of their families, play, raise kids, paddle, swim, hunt, fish, and discuss our meaning of life on and around the NMS. 

The only difference is technology and the number of people in the NMS, and that makes it complicated. There have been negative impacts from the number of people and technology. But sometimes people and technology have no impact or a positive impact. Sewage treatment systems help everybody even, if initially, they cost a lot of money, Simply not throwing trash into the NMS or gradually switching to four stroke outboards also helps everybody.These are changes for the better. It may have been hard, but they are changes for the better. All we need to do is look for changes for the better and sometimes the change will be hard. Sometimes we have to wait because it costs too much, but in  those cases, maybe, we'll have to be smarter and try harder at coming up with better solutions.   

The discussion and change will continue and will be complex and also sometimes contentious, but let's make it meaningful, and try to change this exceptional body of water for the better for all. Someday we may say: "Yeah, we did that as a community. Yeah, it was difficult but look at it now!" 


Boaters also are opposed to bay’s marine sanctuary

The April 13 article “Fishermen vow to sink Monmouth sanctuary plan” describing the reaction of Monmouth County fishermen to the proposed Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary quotes one of them saying the idea “woke up an army” of opposition. Soldiers in that “army” are not just fishermen and women. A battalion of recreational boaters has joined the battle.

Patten Point Yacht Club and the Long Branch Ice Boat & Yacht Club also oppose the sanctuary proposal. Our combined membership, plus families, totals nearly 700 people. We love and treasure the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers as much as any dedicated environmentalist.

We agree with proponents of the sanctuary who say, “This particular corner (of the county) is unique in many, many ways.” We want to keep it that way, but not by another layer of government bureaucracy.

The Shrewsbury and Navesink are not really rivers, but tidal basins and, as such, are on the receiving end of debris swept in by the tides from New York Harbor and Raritan Bay. No amount of restrictions will end that.

Boating, like fishing, is big business in our county. The sanctuary would have a huge negative economic impact not only on the fishing industry, but on the more than two dozen marinas and yacht clubs that support thousands of boaters in our area.

The article quotes a supporter of the proposal saying it is “generally a good idea assuming there are no additional regulations imposed.” Ask yourself this: When is the last time “no additional regulations” were added to any government intervention?

Chuck Theodora



March 15, 2016

Re: Opposition of the Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Dear Mr. van Hemmen,

I am writing to you today as a concerned resident regarding the nomination of the Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  My concern comes after being educated on sanctuary “promises” that have occurred in other states and the corresponding reality which has not favored recreational users most notably fisherman and boaters. 

Everyone can see our coastline is thriving. Current Federal, State and local protections, regulations and statutes have resulted in the prosperity of our coastal community that continues to grow and boost our local economy including tourism, our fishing industry and businesses.  Protections that have been in place for decades are keeping the waters safe for the habitat and recreational use.  Our local community members have been outstanding examples of stewardship for generations by maintaining our coastline, oceans and land masses.  Adding additional layers of Federal regulation is unnecessary and will have negative impacts from businesses operating in locally managed waters to recreational users. 

The National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) Act provides the ability to overrule the Regional Fisheries Management Council. While sanctuaries don’t “regulate” fishing, they definitely affect local fishermen and fishing grounds. Sanctuaries encourage and establish Marine Protected Areas, which are no-fishing zones. Direct experience in California shows that sanctuary actions led to the removal of some of the most productive habitat from fishing.

Sanctuaries also require permitting for dredge material disposal, for harbor/pier repair work, and even scientific research. This will put an unnecessary burden on waterfront home owners and marinas numbering in the thousands looking to improve their facilities as well as educators and scientists performing important research. As an example in Monterey Bay, the NMS staff issues up to 65 permits monthly. Many of these are for minor “disturbance of the seafloor” activities. Scientists who need to extract small amounts of material from the seafloor must get a permit. In the case of dredging, in Monterey a permit was once required to gather 4 cups of sand from the ocean floor to analyze. 

Sanctuary proponents have claimed extensive economic benefits but what sanctuary proponents fail to mention is that a precise estimate is not possible, and that any gains would be the result of “aggressive marketing,” And that NMS designation may also create economic costs. In a 2013 study of the economic effects of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron, a University of Michigan research team surveyed local businesses on employment.  More than 90% cited no impact from the sanctuary on business operation decisions and more than 95% cited no impact on decisions to decrease or increase their workforces.

Local control is another significant concern. While sanctuary management claims to honor local input, in other states however the local sanctuary advisory committee (SAC) is politically appointed and has not been representative of, or responsive to, the community or their concerns. It merely creates the illusion of a community voice in NMS management. The NMS managers control the agenda, representation, and limit to whom the SAC’s may communicate.

This letter is to make it known that I formally oppose the nomination of the Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  The criterial for a National Marine Sanctuary can be fully addressed using the existing laws and statues of both the State of New Jersey and the Federal government. 


Michael Treola

Middletown NJ Resident. 


>> -----Original Message-----

>> From: TACKLE BOX []

>> Sent: Monday, March 14, 2016 4:33 PM

>> To: Rik F. van Hemmen

>> Subject: Marine Sanctuary


>> Rik,


>> My name is Phil Sciortino,Jr. - Im a third generation charter boat

>> captain and bait shop owner of the TACKLE BOX, in Hazlet, N.J.

>> My grandfather John started in the Highlands at Johnny's Landing in

>> the 1940's making his livelihood on the Shrewsbury River and Sandy

>> Hook Bay by offering fishing trips, rental boats and bait and tackle

>> to the public like we still do today up on rt. 36.....

>> I have to say; this marine sanctuary is a very BAD IDEA!

>> Do you know that everyone of these areas in the U.S. ends up

>> restricting recreational anglers, commercial fisherman and some even

>> don't allow motor boats from working or cruising the designated waters!!!?


>> How does that help anyone that makes their living on or from the


>> - SANDY HOOK BAY- SHREWSBURY or NAVESINK RIVERS!!!!??????? It does not.



>> Monmouth County is full of FISHERMAN, CLAMMERS, BOATERS and BAY

>> PEOPLE! We already have state fishing and clamming seasons and size

>> restrictions that are hard enough to deal with!!! We will not allow

>> the Feds now to come in and tell us we can't FISH or BOAT in OUR OWN BAY!


>> We will not let this happen.


>> Please reconsider this terrible idea!


>> Thanks in advance,


>> Phil Sciortino, Jr.


On Mar 17, 2016, at 12:09 PM, Rik F. van Hemmen wrote:

Dear Mr. Sciortino,

I hope you had a chance to attend the presentation at the Red Bank Library last night. If you did, I hope I had a chance to hear comments from you. All comments were appreciated.

If anything, I hope that I could get the message across that my aim is almost completely opposite from hurting any type of fishing or hunting.

I am listening and I hope that when I get invited by RFA to speak that we can find even more common ground.

Best regards,

Rik van Hemmen, P.E.

Vice President

Navesink Maritime Heritage Association P.O Box 6498 Fair Haven, NJ


Oh yes I was there-

> After waiting 30 + minutes or so upstairs I was able to get down to

> the meeting room.

> (Btw- hundreds of fisherman/ clammers/ and people opposed to this NMS

> were turned away outside!) Only to have you dismiss me and my point

> that the bay and rivers are fine and this is NOT needed!

> I said; "we have dolphins in the rivers in the summer- seals inside

> the bay in the winter- bait aplenty- fishing is good - clamming is

> good - there was even a whale feeding in the bay this fall"

> But you for some reason; other than your own agenda- DONT WANT TO HEAR IT!

> If garbage and run-off is your main concern than address that with the

> state. Do not involve the federal government in our water ways!

> You really didn't want to hear what my dad ( who I said was 77 yrs

> old-) born, bred and still lives on the Shrewsbury in Highlands had to say????

> This man literally did "laps" across the river his entire life- he has

> seen it all on these rivers and bay! He can tell you about bulkheads-

> docks- water quality etc.... My grandfather owned JOHNNY'S LANDING and

> then the HIGHLANDS MARINA-  and started the HI-MAR STRIPER CLUB- We

> can tell you that the state fishing regulations and seasons are enough

> legislation- this area is ALIVE!!!!! It needs no major repair - it is

> not a cesspool- But you brushed us off ..... Like we don't know what we're talking about!???

> My family has been in the fishing business since the 1940's- why won't

> you listen to us? And you should listen to all the other families of

> fisherman, clammers, crabbers and boat people that were there last night!

> It's pretty obvious- WE THE PEOPLE have spoken- WE DO NOT WANT A



> Also, I forwarded my original letter to NOAA and the press. Please add

> it to your website so people who go there can see the other side of

> the story. If you want to be fair?


> Finally; there will be a petition posted online soon for all to sign

> that are OPPOSED to this NMS!

> NOAA's head is going to spin!!!!!!


> You sir have awoken a GIANT.


> Phil


From: ian []

>> Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2016 10:06 PM

>> To: Rik F. van Hemmen

>> Subject: Sandy Hook Marine Sactuary


>> Dear Mr.Hemmen,


I speak in this email as an avid youth angler and outdoorsman. I have been fishing the sandy hook bay since I could barely walk and your new proposal scares me. The Sandy Hook bay is a very important spot for sport-fisherman and it can be one of the most productive for Fluke and Stripers in the summer.

Many fisherman love to fish this bay, by taking this away from them you are taking a very large part of NJ fishing. Most fisherman strive to make sure that this spot is kept clean for generations to come and want to share this with others. By making this a marine sanctuary you are taking away the generations of kids who will learn to fish with their grandfathers in this bay just as I did. This bay is a very important part of the heritage of NJ fisherman and you are just taking this away from the next generations. The NJ state fishing regulations are all ready protecting these areas enough, there is no need to ban fisherman. Nj fishermen have a hard enough time already with all of the laws and regulations and most of us go out of our way to preserve the environment not hurt it. Despite our good intentions we are treated as if all we are here to do is trash the water and beach and kill all of the fish, while in reality it is quite the opposite. By taking away Sandy Hook Bay you are further taking away our already limited> fishing rights. So with all due respect I ask that you reconsider your proposal and think about the fisherman.

Thank you

Ian Fernandez


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Navesink Maritime Heritage Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging Eastern Monmouth County with maritime and water related historical, skill building, environmental, and recreational activities, and encouraging responsible use of the Navesink estuary through its Discover, Engage, and Sustain approach

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