TRENTON — Lawmakers on Monday sent Republican Gov. Chris Christie a bill that would add the state to an interstate agreement aimed at keeping poachers from fishing, hunting and trapping.

The state Senate unanimously passed the legislation to enter New Jersey into the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. New Jersey is one of only five states -- along with Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Nebraska -- not already a member of the agreement.

"While the majority of the country is working together to protect their natural resources, we are doing it alone. That makes no sense," Democratic Assemblywoman Grabiela Mosquera said. "It's time that we join this collaboration between states to better protect what makes our individual states unique."

The legislation goes to the governor's desk as trapping season is set to begin Tuesday. The governor hasn't indicated what he'll do with it.

It also comes to the fore as Christie administration policy allows the use of a trap that led to the capture and killing of thousands of raccoons this year. A case between the state and animal welfare activists that could go before the Supreme Court hinges on whether enclosed foothold traps are similar enough to steel-jaw traps, which were banned because they were considered cruel.

The idea for the compact goes back to the 1980s, when Western states agreed to share information as a way to stop poachers from crossing borders to skirt violations.

The compact requires participating states to report wildlife violation convictions to members and gives the member states the capability to honor each other's suspensions.
The legislation unanimously passed the Assembly.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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