- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey has adopted new fishing rules that will lead to a plan to develop an artificial reef near the Barnegat Inlet, officials announced.

Commercial and recreational fisherman are now only allowed to use lobster, fish and conch pots in certain areas, NJ.com reported (https://bit.ly/1HsBAm8). They must also contact Marine Law Enforcement Headquarters two hours prior to setting the pots, mark them with a buoy, and set them up between sunrise and sunset.

The plan, announced Wednesday, ends a rift between commercial and recreational fishermen. It was created by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Federal officials have said commercial fishing intrudes on recreational fishing on the artificial reefs. The reefs are paid for using taxes levied on recreational fishing gear and boat fuel.

The state has more than a dozen artificial reefs, which are composed of rocks, concrete, steel and old ships. Environmental officials say the reefs allow for a wide variety of marine organisms to grow.

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said the reefs can lead to overfishing, and that the state has done little research on the effects.

“More than 10 years ago when this plan was first adopted, the state was supposed to have done a scientific study by 2005 to see if artificial reefs actually work, but more importantly, that do not lead to overfishing,” Tittel said in a statement. “The DEP has not done these studies to make sure that what they are doing is based on sound science or not.”

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Information from: NJ Advance Media.


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