Christie Administration petitions to remove pots off NJ reefs in fed waters
On behalf of the Christie Administration, Assistant Commissioner Boornazian, Natural and Historic Resources, has written the Mid-Atlantic Marine Fisheries Council (MAMFC) initiating the process for Special Management Zone (SMZ) designation for New Jersey’s 13 artificial reefs in federal waters. Assistant Commissioner Boornazian has requested agenda time at a future MAMFC meeting to discuss and request “…an SMZ designation to completely prohibit commercial potting gear on all 13 of these reefs”.
According to Anthony P. Mauro, Chair, New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, “This action is needed to eliminate gear that is restricting anglers from accessing the reefs. These reefs are paid for by recreational anglers and they are intended for hook-and-line and spear fishing.” Mauro continued, “This action by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is a continuation of the effort that resulted in the recently adopted rule that resolves gear conflicts and restrictions on reefs in state waters.”
The letter also states, “New Jersey’s Reef Program was funded primarily through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Sport Fish Restoration Program (SFR), which is a “user pays, user benefits” program. Following several requests by USFWS to resolve these user conflict and access issues, on April 12, 2011 SFR funding for the Reef Program and all reef construction and monitoring activities was discontinued for failure to address the issue.
USFWS officials stated that the funding to the Reef Program would be restored once these issues are resolved”.
A copy of Assistant Commissioner Boornazian’s letter is available for download here: