Take Back New Jersey’s Reefs
Several years ago, New Jersey invested recreational angler dollars to construct a network of artificial reefs. Unfortunately, commercial fishermen moved in and blanketed these reefs with pots and traps that snag lines. Between the gear and lines on the bottom and the markers on the surface, some of these reefs have become unfishable.
After a nine-year struggle, an opportunity to limit 13 of these reefs to hook and line and spear fishing – the types of fishing each reef was designed for – by designating them a Special Management Zone (SMZ) presented itself when the Mid Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (MAFMC) requested public comments on the proposed SMZ designations.
Like public parks, these reefs were built to benefit as many people as possible. If the SMZ designations are passed, commercial fishermen face minimal to no losses in revenue and recreational fishermen get their reefs back.
On December 12, at the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council meeting in Baltimore, a vote was held to set Special Management Zone Status for all 13 Artificial Reefs off of New Jersey. The final vote was 11-7 in favor of the proposed legislation.
This vote ends ten years of gear conflicts on New Jersey’s public reefs.
Thank you for speaking out on this important issue!