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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's some stuff on the Public Trust Doctrine. I can't take credit for it, my friend originally posted it. I think anyone whos worried about losing fishing access owes it to themselves to do some research. Let me know if you guys have any questions.

Comments and other areas you might have knowedge where this could apply are always welcome. thumbsup.gif Anyone who wants more links can e-mail me at [email protected].

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Public Trust Doctrine:
Many often refer to this, but are unclear what it means. Here it is in its basic language, with more references to come.

Feel free to copy it and carry it with you if ever harassed about fishing, and if you are in the right. We cannot move forward without knowledge of our rights.

As always, please be respectful and do not argue or become loud if you are challenged. It's not worth getting arrested over. However, in the future, if this continues, we may have to consider getting groups of fishermen together to challenge the laws, and come prepared with copies of this and other documentation.

Exciting times ahead, folks.

The Public Trust Doctrine

The set of laws that guarantees all people rights to the water. First set by the Roman Emperor Justinian around A.D. 500 as part of Roman civil law, the Public Trust Doctrine establishes the public's right to full use of the seashore as declared in the following quotation from Book II of the Institutes of Justinian:

"By the law of nature these things are common to all mankind - the air, running water, the sea, and consequently the shores of the sea.

No one, therefore, is forbidden to approach the seashore, provided that he respects habitations, monuments, and the buildings, which are not, like the sea, subject only to the law of nations."

Influenced by Roman civil law, the tenets of public trust were maintained through English common Law and adopted by the original 13 colonies.

Following the American Revolution, the royal right to tidelands was vested to the 13 new states, then to each subsequent state, and has remained a part of public policy into the present time.

Through various judicial decisions, the right of use upheld by the Public Trust Doctrine has been incorporated into many state constitutions and statutes, allowing the public the right to all lands, water and resources held in the public trust by the state, including those in New Jersey.

Here's the link:

http://www.nj.gov/dep/cmp/access/pub...s_handbook.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Public Trust Doctrine: comments and case studies

Here are some comments I C&P, guys.

The Public Trust Doctrine has made its appearance in many court challenges. I have outlined the result of one case Tucci V. Salzhauer (336 NYS2d 721). This was a case involving the use of land in Hempstead Harbor in which the court defined the public's rights as:

"When the tide is in, he may use the water covering the foreshore for boating, bathing, fishing, and other lawful purposes; and when the tide is out, he may pass and repass over the foreshore as means of access to reach the water for the same purposes and to lounge and recline thereon."

In recent days there has been much talk and controversy over the right to access Shoreham Beach. Please post any other information or cases you find. This will help prove that under the Public Trust Doctrine our rights are protected.
 

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Re: Public Trust Doctrine: comments and case studies

found an original case from 1892 Illinois Central Railroad V. Illinois, 146 U.S.387 (1892). In this case the Supreme Court held that the state cannot divest itself of its public trust interest. The court said that the state's title to underwater land:

"….. is a title different in character from that which the state holds in land intended for sale…. It is a title held in trust for the people of the state that they may enjoy the navigation of the waters, carry on commerce over them, and have liberty of fishing therein freed from the obstruction or interference of private parties."
 

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Re: Public Trust Doctrine: case studies

In 1992 the legislature amended the Public Lands Law (Law of 1992), c.791) codifying, in part, the Public Trust Doctrine. The intent of the amendment was to also ensure:

That the waterfront owners' reasonable exercise of riparian rights and access to navigable waters did not adversely affect the public's rights. The legislature state that use of trust lands is to be consistent with the public interest in reasonable use and responsible management of waterways for the purposes of navigation, commerce, fishing, bathing, recreation, environmental and aesthetic protection, and access to the navigable waters and lands underwater of the State.
 

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Re: Public Trust Doctrine: Laurence Harbor

If anything is going to get us out of the Laurence Harbor mess when they start denying fisherman access as they put up more fences, it's this part of the Public Trust doctrine:

As stated…..

The single most important feature of Public Trust Law is its ability to override prior legal claims. As a result, water rights that are demonstrably harmful to a navigable river or estuary can be set aside by application of the Doctrine, regardless of how old those prior claims may be. Thus the rights claimed by developers denying access or polluters preventing fishing are superceded by the Public Trust Doctrine.
 
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