Clean Ocean Action


Legislative Campaign for H.R. 5872 Launched

     At long-last, the bill to permanently protect the ocean waters off New Jersey and New York from polluting activities was introduced into the US House of Representatives on July 24.  H.R. 5872 was introduced by original lead co-sponsors Reps. Jim Saxton (NJ-R-3) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-D-6) and original co-sponsors Reps. Robert Andrews (NJ-D-1), Frank LoBiondo (NJ-R-2), Chris Smith (NJ-R-4) Steven Rothman (NJ-D-9), Donald Payne (NJ-D-10), Rush Holt (NJ-D-12), and Tim Bishop (NY-D-1) and Major Owens (NY-D-11).

     Prior to the introduction of the bill, Reps. Saxton and Pallone were joined by over 75 citizens and representatives of organizations and businesses on Saturday, July 22, at the Sawmill Cafe on the Seaside Park boardwalk to celebrate the announcement of the introduction.

     “This bill is a comprehensive plan for the recovery and improvement of the NY/NJ Bight after years of abuse.  It is a regional problem, but it cries out for a national answer,” said Rep. Jim Saxton, the Vice Chairman of the Fisheries and Oceans Subcommittee in the US House of Representatives.  “I’m pleased to work with COA and my colleague Frank Pallone to introduce a bill that would create a ‘Clean Ocean Zone.’”

     “We’ve come a long way since the days in 1987 and 1988 when we had countless beach closures, but taking our clean beaches for granted would be a serious mistake,” said Rep. Frank Pallone.  “That’s why we need to write ocean and beach protections into federal law so they can’t be undone by some future Administration.”

     A project of Clean Ocean Action over the past few years, the Clean Ocean Zone (COZ) is a cooperative initiative among organizations and citizens.  A committee comprised of groups from New York and New Jersey (see list) representing various interests, including recreational and commercial fishing, diving, surfing, and environmental, as well as legal counsel, developed the COZ bill. 

     “The key to healthier fish is a clean ocean,” said James Lovgren, Fishermen’s Dock Cooperative of Pt. Pleasant.  “Ocean water quality has come a long way in the past 20 years and now we need to take steps – like the Clean Ocean Zone – to ensure the health of fish in the future and to safeguard the commercial fishing industry.”

     “When passed, the COZ will represent true marine natural resource management.  The Hudson River Fishermen’s Association has long realized that strong environmental legislation leads to a healthy thriving ecological habitat.  The ocean is the last and most forgotten frontier.  By establishing the COZ, that area of the Atlantic Ocean becomes a stable measurable standard for all its contributory waters.  We stand behind its principles and urge its strong bipartisan support and swift passage,” said Gil Hawkins, Environmental Affairs Chair, Hudson River Fishermen’s Association.

     “We hope this legislation will lead the way to an era of health for our ocean – an era that will be appreciated by all ocean inhabitants, enthusiasts, and visitors,” said Richard Lee, Board of Directors, Surfers’ Environmental Alliance.

     “We need to keep up the full court press to protect the ocean as the issues change over the years,” said Willie deCamp, Jr., President, Save Barnegat Bay.

     “The public has fought hard for years to protect the coastal waters of New Jersey and New York. We are seeing renewed effort to industrialize the ocean and expose it to new pollution,” said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director, American Littoral Society.  “The COZ will give us an important tool to fight back against those who would exploit our coast.”

     “The COZ is the key legislation needed for the protection of these traditional and historical recreational fishing grounds,” said Jessica Knox, Deputy Director of Government Affairs and Marine Policy, Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA).

     To date, the COZ is supported by nearly 100 organizations, over 35 municipalities, and more than 15,000 citizens who signed petitions.  The next step is for organizations and citizens to contact their US Representatives and urge them to support H.R. 5872 -- The NJ/NY Clean Ocean Zone bill. 

     As the COZ legislation moves ahead, citizens will be able to follow the “migration” or journey of the bill through the legislative process by using Clean Ocean Action’s “Fish-o-Meter” (see photo to left).  The fish-o-meter is a chart in the form of a fish that will be filled-in as steps are completed in the process as H.R. 5872 becomes federal law.

     For updates on the COZ, supporting organizations and municipalities, maps, charts, and ways to get involved in the campaign for H.R. 5872, visit

Members of the COZ Legislative Committee

  • Larrell Brown, Alliance for a Living Ocean
  • Tim Dillingham, American Littoral Society 
  • Andrew Provence, Esq., Ansell Zaro Grimm & Aaron, P.C.
  • Tom Fagan, Communication Workers of America – Local 1034
  • Jim Lovgren, Fisherman’s Dock Co-op – Pt. Pleasant 
  • John Malizia, Fishermen’s Conservation Association
  • Rav Freidel, Friends of Long Island Sound
  • Greg DiDomenico, Garden State Seafood Association
  • Charlie Stamm and Gil Hawkins, Hudson River Fishermen’s Association
  • Ed Dlugosz, Monmouth County Friends of Clearwater
  • Glenn Arthur & Jack Fullmer, NJ Council of Diving Clubs
  • Dan Lieb, NJ Historical Divers Association
  • Jim Donofrio, Recreational Fishing Alliance
  • Willie deCamp, Jr., Save Barnegat Bay
  • Richard Lee, Surfers’ Environmental Alliance
  • Ray Bogan, Esq., United Boatmen of NY/NJ

Waves of Thanks...

to the staff of The Sawmill Cafe/Green Room for generously hosting the press conference and reception on July 22 for the COZ bill introduction.  Special thanks to owner Steve Donofrio and Manager Dave Porciello.  COA also thanks Seaside Park Mayor Robert Matthies, Council Members, and Borough Administrator Jay Delaney for supporting the COZ and local hospitality.  Also, COA greatly appreciates the time and talent of Shaun McGuinness, A Shore Shot -- Photographic Solutions, as photographer of the landmark event and thanks him for his dedication to the ocean.


49 Avenel Blvd.
Long Branch, NJ 07740

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Gateway National Recreation Area
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Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041

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