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Feds ends funding for New Jersey's artificial reefs

Discussion in 'Artificial Reefs' started by njdiver1, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. njdiver1

    njdiver1 Barracuda

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    Written by

    DAN RADEL
    STAFF WRITER

    4:52 PM, Apr. 13, 2011

    Dr. John Organ, of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), announced the end of funding for New Jersey's artificial reef program due to gear conflicts on the reefs. He announced his decision in a letter to New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin.

    The conflicts on the reefs violate the Sport Fish Restoration Act (SFR), which provides federal funding for the artificial reef program.

    In his letter to Commissioner Martin, Organ said, "I am terminating all further SFR funding for the artificial reef program in New Jersey, effective the date of this letter (April 12, 2011). Funding can be restored when appropriate action is taken to eliminate the conflicts that currently interfere with recreational fishing on these reefs.''

    "The state has to comply with the policy of the Sport Fish Restoration Act's intended use, and that is for sport fishing, not commercial fixed gear, such as pots,'' Peter Grimbilas, chairman of Reef Rescue, said. "The state was warned that this could happen and it did.''

    Grimbilas, who has been involved with Reef Rescue for years, has already been spearheading protests outside the office of Assemblyman Nelson T. Albano in Cape May Courthouse.

    Albano has become the focal point in the fight to get the pots off the reefs because he is the chairman of the Assembly's Agricultural and Natural Resource Committee.

    Assembly Bill A-1152, which makes removal of commercial gear on the reefs mandatory, has been stalled in that committee and it must be put up for a vote and passed before it can be voted on by the full Assembly. The companion bill, S-221, has already been passed by the full senate.

    Grimbilas led a demonstration last Saturday and has two more planned for April.

    "We're demonstrating the democratic process in hopes of gathering more momentum and attention to the issue,'' Grimbilas said.

    Grimbilas said Reef Rescue will intensify their efforts to get word out to the public on this issue and he hopes to get the bill through before legislature breaks for the summer.

    "Clearly, the trappers and potters with fixed gear on the artificial reefs are responsible for the termination of funding. For years, Reef Rescue, the NJOA, and other outdoor organizations, have warned legislators and policy makers that New Jersey has not conformed to the grant objectives of the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Program,'' Anthony P. Mauro, Sr., chairman, of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance said in a statement.

    Angler Lou Falcone, who made the trip down from Piscataway, was among last week's protesters. He fishes out of Waretown on private boats and uses the Barnegat Light, Garden State North and South reefs most often.

    "We lose lot's of rigs on the reefs because of commercial gear. Recreational fishermen who regularly use the reefs are going to want this bill to go through,'' Falcone said.

    Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, R-Sussex, Morris and Hunterdon, is a co-sponsor A-1152 which would limit commercial fishing on New Jersey’s artificial reefs. “The loss of this funding is going to have a tremendous negative impact on a lot of people,” explained McHose. “Not only will it hurt our state’s tourism industry and businesses such as tackle shops and charter and party boats, but it’s unfair to the 800,000 recreational anglers and divers who will suffer because state lawmakers failed to take appropriate action to protect the reefs and much needed federal dollars for the program."

    Five states along the Atlantic coastline have brought their reef programs into compliance with federal regulations including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and New York. Delaware is in the process.

    Reef Rescue will hold two more protests at the District 1 Legislative Offices at 21 North Main St., Cape May Court House. They are scheduled for April 23 and 30 at 10 a.m. The April 30 demonstration will be followed by a rally.

    Feds ends funding for New Jersey’s artificial reefs | The Asbury Park Press | APP.com
     
  2. Walter

    Walter Instructor, Scuba

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    Artificial reefs are wonderful to have, but they should be privately funded.
     
    Cap335 likes this.
  3. njdiver1

    njdiver1 Barracuda

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    Many of the smaller ships and reef balls on our system have been privately funded. Due to budget cuts these funds are all our State has to pay the people running our program.
     
  4. Tanked

    Tanked Extreme Non-poster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: South Jersey!
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    What does this mean for the USS Radford?
     
  5. njdiver1

    njdiver1 Barracuda

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    No effect at all. Very little money from the SFRP, from NJ, has been used on her. The Ann E. Clark Foundation funded NJ's portion of the reefing effort on USS AWR.
     
    Tanked likes this.
  6. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

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    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
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    Not sure I fully understand the article. It says the state of New Jersey was warned about this possibility, so I don't see the problem when it actually happens. I gather the issue is NOT the cessation of federal funding, but an attempt to get the project and the State in compliance with the requirement to remove commercial gear. In that case I think the headline/subject is misleading.
     
    Randy43068 likes this.
  7. njdiver1

    njdiver1 Barracuda

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    No effect at all. Very little money from the SFRP, from NJ, has been used on her. The Ann E. Clark Foundation funded NJ's portion of the reefing effort on USS AWR.
     

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