Artificial Reef Issues - good habitat and good
On November 2, 2015 the NJDEP published final rules on new Artificial Reef
A letter announcing the rules can be viewed at:
regulations can be seen here:
On February 2nd the New Jersey Register published a
proposed rule amending our artificial reef regulations. The proposal would
limit commercial and recreational fixed gear (potting) to three small sections
on our two inshore reefs. The Sandy Hook (1
zone) and Axel Carlson (2 zones) reefs will have small sections known as “full
access zones” where potting will be permitted. Limitations on size of strings,
times for attending them and penalties are included in the proposal.
Public comments can be submitted thru April 2, 2015 by
using the following website:
Press releases are available
The regulations can be obtained at either of the
(Click on NJ - New Jersey Register in left hand column, put in reef
Graphics of the “full access zones” are available
- No Reef News published. See their website: http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/artreef.htm
Early this evening
the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council (NJMFC) voted unanimously to move the
Artificial Reef Regulation on to be published as a Proposed Rule in the NJ
Register on February 2nd. This compromise between the Commercial and
Recreational fishermen was brokered by the NJMFC Artificial Reef Advisory
Committee, NJ Marine Fisheries Bureau and the NJDEP Commissioner’s Office. It
allows the use of sections of the two reefs within State waters (Axel Carson and
Sandy Hook) by Commercial and Recreational pot
fishermen with restrictions and penalties. This regulation once published will
have a 60 day public comment period. Thereafter, comments will be considered and
a Final Rule will be published in a subsequent issue of the NJ
- The New Jersey Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued the
Third Edition of Guide
to Fishing and Diving New Jersey Reefs - out of print.
State Senate panel OKs ‘pots off reefs’
By RICHARD DEGENER Staff Writer | Posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2010
© 1970-2010 Press of Atlantic City Media Group
Press of Atlantic City
A bill that would ban fish pots from the state's
reef system was approved unanimously by the state Senate's Environment
and Energy Committee on Monday.
The bill promoted by recreational fishing groups and opposed by
commercial fishermen is the third attempt to get the legislation
enacted. Two earlier attempts passed the full Senate but failed to get
Those attempts resulted in a compromise proposal by commercial
fishermen, but rejected by the recreational industry, and a plan by the
state Department of Environmental Protection to give anglers exclusive
use of the reefs for six months of the year. The DEP proposal went
The latest bill still faces a number of hurdles. Adam Nowalsky, of the
Galloway Township-based Recreational Fishing Alliance, said the next
step is to get approval by a state Assembly committee of a companion
"We're very excited the legislation has been voted out of the Senate
committee. We look forward to a full vote in the Senate and a companion
bill in the Assembly. Last year the Assembly bill never made it through
committee. We're optimistic the third time will be the charm," Nowalsky
Marty Buzas, a commercial fisherman from Wildwood, drove to Trenton on
Monday to oppose the bill. He said the bill would allow hook-and-line
fishing on the reefs, but not the fish pots commercial fishermen use.
"The problem is you can't catch conchs and lobsters with hook-and-line.
It would totally eliminate us from the reefs," Buzas said.
Even if the bill passes, it would apply only to the two artificial
reefs in state waters. There are 13 other reefs in federal waters
outside three miles. Nowalsky said they would approach the Mid-Atlantic
Fishing Management Council, which regulates fish in those waters, to
prevent pot fishing in them as well.
The main issue is gear conflicts. Anglers say their gear gets caught on
the pots and ropes the commercial fishermen use. Buzas said anglers
also hang up their lines on the wrecks. He said fishing such areas
while drifting leads to the problem, but if anchored there is less
chance to get hung up.
"They're fishing on wrecks. It's the same as fishing on a junkyard,"
Finfish could still be harvested by commercial fishing using the
hook-and-line method. Nowalsky said 90 percent of the lobsters landed
off New Jersey come from other areas, some as far out as the
The RFA said the area in question is just .3 percent of the sea floor
off New Jersey, yet 20 percent of the recreational catch comes from it.
This causes an economic ripple as anglers spend money at marinas, bait
and tackle stores, party boats, hotels and motels, on fuel and other
The RFA also notes the 2005 state-approved Artificial Reef Plan said
the intent of the reefs is for hook-and-line fishing.
The commercial industry counters that the 2005 plan did not
specifically ban pots and the original reef plan from 1987 opened them
to both recreational and commercial interests. Much of the funding to
create the reefs comes from the recreational sector through donations
and taxes sport fishermen pay, although the commercial side argues that
the reefs are also supported by county, state and federal funding to
which they contribute.
Nowalsky said allowing pots could endanger sport-fishing restoration
funds. He said other East Coast states have said pots were not
compatible with their reefs.
According to the state, about 50 commercial fishermen are actively
fishing the reefs, compared with 1.3 million anglers in the state.
State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, said he
still hopes for a compromise. He said a big part of the problem is
illegal potting, both by commercial and recreational fishermen. Getting
illegal pots off the reefs would reduce gear conflicts, he said.
"Recreational fishermen are getting tangled up, but most of the time
not from legal, responsible commercial fishermen. I still think we can
get the RFA and commercial folks together to compromise. I really don't
support this as it is," Van Drew said.
ARTIFICIAL REEF PLAN UPDATE FOR PUBLIC REVIEW (release
TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
today released a copy of the update to its "Artificial Reef Management
Plan for New Jersey" for public comment. The Plan has helped to guide
New Jersey's extensive reef building efforts at 14 artificial reef
locations for more than 17 years. New Jersey is now a national leader
in artificial reef development and this plan will strengthen our reef
program through appropriate standards and fisheries goals," said DEP
Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell.
reefs are an environmental and economic boon for New Jersey. New
fishing and diving opportunities enhance our shore economy, while our
marine ecosystems gain new habitat. The new draft of the Plan covers
all aspects of the multi-faceted program, including its objectives,
history, benefits, site selection and other considerations. It also
establishes a protective standard for the stability, durability and
effectiveness of various materials used in reef construction. Currently
there is no uniform national standard for the durability of reef
materials. Over the years, New Jersey has had tremendous success with
its artificial reef program. Past studies of artificial reefs show that
they may be colonized by up to 200 species of fish and invertebrates.
Reefs have 800 to 1,000 times more biomass than open ocean. Artificial
reefs can also form important nurseries for juvenile fish.
recent years, DEP added several ships and tugboats to its reefs, as
well as more unusual materials such as the 250 decommissioned New York
City subway cars added at five reef locations in the summer of 2003.
DEP has formed an independent committee to oversee a multi-year
monitoring program at the subway car sites that will study water
quality, fisheries and biota, and the durability of the reefs. The
results of this study will further help New Jersey refine its
artificial reef program.
state currently has 14 artificial reef sites where it periodically
deploys new reef materials. These sites include: Sandy Hook Reef, Sea
Girt Reef, Shark River Reef, Axel Carlson Reef (offshore from
Mantoloking), Barnegat Light Reef, Garden State North Reef (offshore
from Harvey Cedars), Garden South Reef (offshore from Spray Beach),
Little Egg Reef (offshore from Holgate), Atlantic City Reef, Great Egg
Reef (offshore from Atlantic City), Ocean City Reef, Wildwood Reef,
Deep Water Reef (offshore from Wildwood), and Cape May Reef. The DEP is
accepting public comments on the draft for the next 60 days.
A copy of the update to the Plan is available at the DEP website at
Send your written comments to:
Bill Figley, Reef Coordinator NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife PO Box
418Port Republic, NJ 08241
*In providing specific comments, please reference the page or section
number in the plan to which you are referring.
NEW WRECK on the Shark River Reef - July 23, 2001
- From the Philadelphia
Naval Shipyard - A 260 foot Barracks Barge!
Now known as "Jack's Spot" for Jack Myers, a Brick
fisherman and also chairman of the state Marine Fisheries Council from
1984 to 1998. Without an engine, it only cost $25,000 to clean and tow
(That is lots of t-shirts divers bought.) Peggy got to witness
sinking from the Outlaw. Report - it is on it's starboard side by about
70 degrees, sand at 125 feet.
- New York has been working to have
artificial reefs in NY waters protected as Artificial Reef Management
concerns in writing this new NY proposal!
Legislation Director) below-
(12/26/01 - LIDA will meet with Steve Heins in January.)
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As some of you know, New York has been working to have artificial reefs
waters protected as Artificial Reef Management Areas. In the
(November) they were calling these Special Management Areas.
been working to allow divers to continue their access and NJ Council of
Clubs has joined with LIDA to this end. We have gotten
added to the 'taking of fish' but we have a way to go. I
wording 'taken by hand' added (and maybe gaff...).
We are now working on the prohibitions to "move, alter, damage or
any structure or object'. As with any ruling lately, it
explicitly state that divers could anchor into the wreck without being
law-breakers - (the NY state guy, Steve Heins, says the ruling wasn't
be a problem for divers but we have seen how that goes down the
Or that we could take an artifact off a purposely sunk
vessel. (See below)
If you dive in NY waters, you might want to add your comments (address below) - they
have refused to
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This is the newest info (12/18) from NY on their reef protection areas.
I had them convert it to a word.doc since their word perfect file was
up in several places during conversion. And I have added some
Steve Heins that was sent to Paula Jerman of LIDA at the bottom.
Section 40.7 Special Management Areas
(Statutory Authority: ECL 3-0301(2)(m); ECL 13-0360)
(1) artificial reef - a hard structure deliberately placed in a marine
coastal water body for the purpose of imitating environmental
on natural underwater rock outcroppings, shellfish reefs, or coral
(2) wreck - an abandoned shipwreck which occurred through an accidental
circumstance or deliberate scuttling or sinking that was not part of
artificial reef construction activities.
(3) natural reef - a naturally occurring and persistent hard structure
formation composed of rock or rocks, gravel or hard-packed sediment,
generally rises above the surrounding sea floor and supports or is
capable of supporting a marine ecosystem dependent upon hard-bottom
(4) special management area - an area of the marine
in which artificial reefs, wrecks and/or natural reefs are located, so
designated by this Part, within which the rules and regulations
the taking of fish, shellfish and crustaceans may be different from
regulations outside of the bounds.
(5) artificial reef management area - a special
surrounding and including an artificial reef;
(6) spearfishing - taking of fish using any penetrating device or
including mechanical or pneumatic spear guns , but not powerheads or
(7) the Race - The area known as the Race shall have the same
set forth in 6NYCRR Part 44.1(i).
(b) PURPOSE. The purposes of this
section shall be
controls on the taking of fish, shellfish and crustaceans in defined
that contain artificial reefs, natural reefs and/or wrecks, consistent
state, federal and interstate management plans and with the marine
conservation and management policy set forth in Section 13-0105 of the
and to protect the physical structure and ecological
integrity of artificial reefs, natural reefs and wrecks and their
(c) Prohibitions within all Special Management Areas
(1)Within the bounds of any and all SMAs, no person, other than an
agent of the Department, shall:
(a) possess, set, use or operate any net of any kind, except for a
hand-operated net used in the landing of fish legally taken by
(b) possess, use or operate any dredge of any kind;
(c) possess, set, use or operate setlines, longlines or any
other than hand-held gear used for angling;
(2) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prohibit the
lawfully possessed fishing gear or fish over the waters of any special
(d) Artificial Reef Management Areas.
(1) Designation of Artificial Reef Management Areas. All
artificial reefs within state marine and coastal waters, including the
within 500 feet of the bounds of these artificial reefs, are designated
artificial reef management areas, or ARMAs. A description and
of these artificial reefs is given in 6NYCRR, Section 40.6 (f), which
incorporated herein by this reference.
(2) Prohibitions within Artificial Reef Management Areas.
In addition to the prohibitions in paragraph (c) of this section,
bounds of any and all ARMAs, no person, other than an authorized agent
move, alter, damage or
structure or object, other than personal property;
(ii) take any fish by any means, other than by
(iii) possess, set, use or operate traps or pots of any kind.
(e) Designation of other Special Management Areas.
(1) Fishers Island Special Management Area (FISMA). The FISMA
special management area which includes extensive areas of natural
which is described by the following bounds: all New York State waters
and east of Fishers Island to the New York-Connecticut and New
Island state boundary lines and within one mile of the south and west
of Fishers Island.
(2) Special requirements for taking of lobsters in FISMA.
(i) No person, other than the holder of a New York State non-commercial
lobster permit, shall fish, set or use any lobster pots or
American lobsters, Homarus americanus, within the FISMA without first
obtaining a FISMA permit from the Department. The Department shall
forms for application for such permit. Any person who is
eligible to take lobsters from the FISMA for commercial purposes
and who holds the requisite New York State commercial lobster
provided for by section 13-0329 of the ECL is eligible to apply for the
permit. Any person requesting a FISMA permit must furnish the
with their commercial lobster permit before being issued the FISMA
The holder of a FISMA permit may take and land lobsters only from the
and not from any other waters.
(ii) Notwithstanding any other provision of 6NYCRR Part 44, the holder
FISMA permit may set, use or otherwise fish a total of not more than
hundred (500) lobster pots within the waters of the FISMA at any one
(iii) No lobster pot may be placed in the waters of FISMA unless it
tag issued by the Department or an authorized agent of the Department
year in which the pot is fished. New tags shall be
issued annually. Such trap tags shall be issued consistent
provisions of 6NYCRR Part 44, except that FISMA permit
receive tags for no more than 500 pots or the maximum number of pots
which they are permitted to fish under the rules of the Department or
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission at the time in effect
lower (plus replacement tags for lost gear as provided in
6NYCRR Part 44). FISMA trap tags may not be used to fish
waters, and no FISMA permitholder shall receive or use trap tags to
any other waters.
(iv) Between the dates of September 15 and October 15, and between the
of April 1 and May 15, all FISMA permit holders must remove all lobster
from the waters of the FISMA. The department may, by written
of the Chief of the Bureau of Marine Resources, require removal of
pots from the waters of the FISMA during two alternate periods of four
weeks to reflect changes in lobster molting and spawning seasons.
(v) Not more than two lobster pots may be attached to any single buoyed
also known as a trawl, within the FISMA, except that three lobster pots
attached to a trawl within that portion of the Race that falls within
(vi) FISMA permits shall be non-transferrable, and not
except that a FISMA permit may be transferred to an immediate family
who has also received by transfer the New York State commercial lobster
from the same person, as authorized by the Environmental Conservation
(vii) FISMA permits shall expire on December 31, and new permits must
issued annually. In calendar year 2001, such permits will be
any qualified applicant. Thereafter, such permits will be
persons who held them in the preceding year.
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