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N.J.A.C. 7:25-18.5A-Limiting Use of Pots on Artificial Reefs

Discussion in 'Artificial Reefs' started by njdiver1, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. njdiver1

    njdiver1 Barracuda

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    NJ DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
    NATURAL AND HISTORIC RESOURCES
    DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

    Notice of Rule Proposal

    Marine Fisheries: General Net Regulations, N.J.A.C. 7:25-18.5, and Artificial Reefs, N.J.A.C. 7:25-18.5A

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    Take notice that the NJ Department of Environmental Protection is proposing amendments to the rules governing general net regulations at N.J.A.C. 7:25-18.5 and proposing a new rule, Artificial Reefs, at N.J.A.C. 7:25-18.5A to limit the use of lobster, fish and conch pots on the Sandy Hook and Axel Carlson Reefs to specific “full access zones” within each reef. Commercial and recreational anglers and sport/scuba divers will continue to have full access to all parts of the reefs including the full access zones.


    The proposed amendments and new rule require that commercial and recreational lobster potters setting and tending gear within the full access zones do so only between the hours of sunrise and sunset and that they call the Marine Law Enforcement Headquarters two hours prior to doing so. Individual pots set in these zones must be marked with a buoy and a string of pots must have a buoy attached to both ends. Buoys or flags shall meet the requirements of NOAA’s take reduction plans for Atlantic Large Whale, Harbor Porpoise and Bottlenose Dolphin. All strings shall be limited to 20 pots. Penalty structures for violating these requirements are included in the proposed amendments and new rule and are based on a 1st, 2nd and in some cases a 3rd offense. Fines and penalties range from $100.00 to $200.00 and suspension of license or permanent revocation. The proposed amendments and new rule provide for forgiveness of a violation following a period of compliance.

    The proposal is scheduled to be published in the New Jersey Register dated February 2, 2015.
    A copy of the proposal is available at: http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/proposals/20150202a.pdf; and the LexisNexis free public access to the New Jersey Register, www.lexisnexis.com/njoal).


    Written comments may be submitted electronically by April 2, 2015 at http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/comments; or
    in hard copy to:

    Gary J. Brower, Esq.
    ATTN: DEP Docket No. 14-14-12
    NJ Department of Environmental Protection
    Office of Legal Affairs
    Mail Code 401-04L; PO Box 402
    401 East State Street, 7th Floor
    Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

    NJDEP New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection


    ---------- Post added February 3rd, 2015 at 05:51 PM ----------

    DEP Release: DEP Moves Forward with Artificial Reef Plan

    IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    February 3, 2015

    Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
    Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
    Bob Considine (609) 984-1795

    DEP MOVES FORWARD WITH ARTIFICIAL REEF PLAN
    PROPOSED RULE WILL STRIKE BALANCE BETWEEN RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL FISHING INTERESTS

    (15/P12) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection this week proposed new
    rules that will fully implement a compromise between recreational and commercial fishing
    interests over access to artificial reefs off the coast of New Jersey, Commissioner Bob
    Martin announced today.

    The plan will allow commercial interests to have continued access to portions of two
    reefs in state waters and calls for the construction of a new reef for recreational
    fishing, also in state waters. The compromise, reached in 2013 with commercial and
    recreational fishing groups, is now being proposed as a formal rule change and amendments
    to Fish and Wildlife regulations. The proposal appears in the Feb. 2 New Jersey Register.

    "Recreational and commercial fishing are vital to New Jersey's economy, providing
    more than $2.5 billion in economic benefits each year," Commissioner Martin said.
    "This compromise will address the needs of commercial fishermen and recreational
    anglers, and will result in restoration of federal funding that is vital to the
    development of artificial reefs that provide tremendous commercial and recreational
    benefits."

    The DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife holds permits for 15 artificial reef sites - 13
    in federal waters and two in state waters. The reefs, encompassing a total of 25 square
    miles of ocean floor, are constructed from a variety of materials, such as rocks,
    concrete and steel, even old ships and barges. These materials provide surfaces for a
    wide diversity of marine organisms to grow, ultimately providing food and habitat for
    many species of fish and shellfish.

    Under the rule proposal in the New Jersey Register, commercial and recreational fishermen
    utilizing lobster, fish and conch pots will be permitted to continue using portions of
    two existing reefs in state waters off Sandy Hook and Manasquan. State waters extend from
    the shoreline to three miles offshore. Recreational hook-and-line fishermen will
    continue to have access to all portions of these reefs.

    Commercial and recreational fishermen will be allowed the use of lobster, fish and conch
    pots on the Sandy Hook and Axel Carlson Reefs in specific "full access zones"
    within each reef. Commercial and recreational anglers and sport/scuba divers will
    continue to have full access to all parts of the reefs including the full access zones.

    In addition, commercial and recreational lobster potters setting and tending gear within
    the full access zones must do so only between the hours of sunrise and sunset, and they
    must call the Marine Law Enforcement Headquarters two hours prior to doing so. Individual
    pots set in these zones must be marked with a buoy and a string of pots must have a buoy
    attached to both ends.

    A new reef, encompassing about a square mile of ocean floor, will be constructed in state
    waters in an area north of Barnegat Inlet to be used for recreational fishing. The
    Division of Fish and Wildlife is working with the DEP Division of Land Use Regulation and
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in securing the permit for this project.

    This plan is expected to resolve federal concerns that commercial fishing is intruding on
    and hampering recreational fishing on artificial reefs in state waters, which are funded
    by excise taxes on recreational fishing gear and motor boat fuel. Costs to obtain, clean
    and deploy suitable material also is supported by private donations.

    As the plan is implemented, the DEP will petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to
    restore nearly $250,000 in annual funding for artificial reef research, improvements and
    maintenance that has been withheld as a result of this issue.

    Funding restored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be used to pay for a
    significant portion of this project. Donations from both the commercial and recreational
    fishing communities will also help pay for construction. The DEP, in consultation with
    stakeholders and the Army Corps of Engineers, will finalize a site for the new reef.

    The DEP will also work with the federal Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council for
    Special Management Zone designation which will allow the DEP to prohibit commercial gear
    on all 13 existing artificial reefs in federal waters. Federal waters begin three miles
    offshore.

    For more information on New Jersey's Artificial Reef Program, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/artreef.htm


    A copy of the proposal is available at: http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/notices.html

    Written comments may be submitted electronically by April 2, 2015 at http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/comments/



    Written comments may be sent to:
    Gary J. Brower, Esq.
    ATTN: DEP Docket No. 14-14-12
    NJ Department of Environmental Protection
    Office of Legal Affairs
    Mail Code 401-04L; PO Box 402
    401 East State Street, 7th Floor

    http://www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2015/15_0012.htm


     

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