COVID-19 Lockdown is Destroying Jersey’s Fishing Boat Industry

(TheFreedomFlag.Com)- According to a report by Breitbart, the lockdown measures put in place in response to the outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus poses a huge threat to the for-hire fishing boat industry on the shores of New Jersey, risking another American industry ending for good.

Captains of party boats on the shore spokes to the conservative news outlets, explaining how business owners are struggling to keep operations afloat and are appealing to federal and state governments to help keep them ticking over while people are stuck at home.

Party boats aren’t necessarily what you might think they are. These boats allow people to go out and fish recreationally, meaning they cater largely to anglers. People pay for a ticket, reserve a space on the party boat, and can go out and fish for an allocated time out in the ocean. They’re also popular with families and amateur fisherman, because the captain directs the boat to the best areas to find fish.

They’re also essential for anglers who don’t have the cash to buy their own boat, but all this could come crashing down if the COVID-19 lockdown continues through the summer – the busiest months for the boats.

During the summer months, the boats also provide tours to residents of New Jersey and tourists who are interested in learning about species including black sea bass, striped bass, winter flounder, blue fish, and other native species of fish. The historic industry has been struggling in recent decades, however. According to records from the National marine fisheries service, 50 party boats closed between 1996 and 2019. The sustainable Fisheries Act, which was signed in 1996, implemented a limit on how much recreational fishing could take place.

That meant the industry started to suffer, but over time, adapted and maintained some profitability. The shutting down of “non-essential” businesses by Governor Phil Murphy, however, means in the industry is once again at risk.

New Jersey has implemented some of the strictest lockdown measures in the country, prompting business owners to speak out. Captain Bob Rush, Jr. who owns the boat Starfish told Breitbart how he sees the industry being impacted.

“I’m all for making sure that everybody is healthy, health is number one, but also, in turn, people have to work, people have to be able to pay their bills. And with everything shut down like this…I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life and I never want to see it again,” he said.

He also explained how the state government said zero boats could operate, even if they did so while maintaining six feet distance and wearing masks.

“They gave us no reasoning whatsoever,” he explained. “It’s a situation that it’s out of your hands, and you’re basically told by the government ‘you can’t go earn a living,’ even if you follow all the guidelines, wear gloves and wash your hands, and wear a face mask.”

You can read the full report at Breitbart, but it shows just how serious state government lockdowns are.

How many businesses can survive this?