While politicians and businesspeople struggle to increase casino revenue in Atlantic City, Noel Feliciano has cast his net around an industry too often submerged in public and political thought—FISHING!
“We need the new boardwalk and bulkhead, but we definitely need fishing, because first and foremost, Atlantic City is surrounded by water. We’ve got a lot more water than casinos.”
All that water translates into serious fishing money. According to the latest United States Fish and Wildlife Service survey, annual fishing expenditures in New Jersey totaled $1.1 billion. That translates to nearly 10,000 jobs and over $300 million a year in tax revenue.
Noel, owner of One Stop Bait and Tackle in the Inlet, is spearheading a petition-signing and informational campaign to maintain and increase access to fishing sites, which might be threatened by boardwalk and bulkhead construction.
“I’m part of a group of active advocates for fishermen’s concerns. We need designated locations and appropriate signage. We have twelve jetties here and one of the deepest spots you can fish. And lots of fish!”
Noel’s cry for access is buoyed by the New Jersey Public Trust Doctrine which charges the state with allowing and protecting the public’s right to use shores and tidal waterways, while ensuring adequate access.
“But I’m not just about fishing. When you get up in the morning, you’d love to cross that boardwalk, walk out on that jetty, and see the sunrise, breathe in some fresh air, and watch a sailboat go by. That’s what life’s about—stop and smell the ocean.”
There’s an image that’s no fish story.
-John “Yonk” Rosnick