In November 2015 the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) petitioned the Council to designate 13 artificial reef sites as Special Management Zones (SMZs) in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) under provisions of Amendment 9 to the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass FMP. The justification for this request was based on the need to ameliorate gear conflicts between hook and line fishermen and fixed pot/trap gear at those sites.
At their October 2016 meeting, the Council received a report from the SMZ Monitoring Team (MT), which was formed to evaluate the NJDEP request. The report concluded that the designation of the NJDEP 13 reef sites appears to be compatible with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable federal laws. Based on evaluation of all relevant factors, the MT recommended that the Council designate all 13 New Jersey's artificial reefs located in the EEZ as SMZs. This designation would stipulate that no fishing vessel or person on a fishing vessel may fish in the 13 New Jersey Special Management Zones with any gear except hook and line and spear fishing (including the taking of fish by hand). The MT analysis indicated that commercial fishing vessels deploying pot/trap gear off the coast of New Jersey would likely face minimal to no losses in ex-vessel revenue if the artificial reefs are designated as SMZs. The Council discussed the MT’s recommendations and decided to hold public hearings in November 2016 in New Jersey and New York to solicit public comments on the NJ SMZ request. The Council will review the public comments and take final action at its December 2016 meeting.
Rich Seagraves, Senior Scientist: email@example.com,
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold three public hearings in November 2016 to gather public comments on a request by the State of New Jersey to designate 13 of its artificial reef sites located in federal waters as Special Management Zones (SMZ). The hearings will be held November 15-17, 2016. Written comments will be accepted until Friday, November 25, 2016, 11:59 p.m. EST.
Public Hearing Schedule
The dates and locations of the public hearings are as follows:
- Tuesday November 15, 2016, 7:00-9:30 p.m., Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Blvd., Brooklyn NY 11235, Room M239 of the Marina and Academic Center (The Lighthouse).
- Wednesday November 16, 2016, 7:00-10:00 p.m., Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 815 Route 37 West, Toms River, NJ 08755.
- Thursday November 17, 2016, 7:00-10:00 p.m., Congress Hall, 200 Congress Place, Cape May, NJ 08204.
Written comments will be accepted until Friday, November 25, 2016, 11:59 p.m. and may be sent by any of the following methods:
- Mail to Dr. Chris Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE, 19901 (include “NJ SMZ Request” on envelope);
- Fax to Dr. Chris Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council at fax number (include “NJ SMZ Request” in the subject line); or
- Email to Rich Seagraves at firstname.lastname@example.org (include “NJ SMZ Request” in the subject line).
- Report to the Council from the SMZ Monitoring Team (October 2016)
- Additional public comments for October Council meeting