March 1, 2013
At last month's meeting the Council reviewed public comments on options to address the State of Delaware’s request to designate Special Management Zones (SMZs) around five artificial reefs in the EEZ. The request was made to ameliorate gear conflicts between hook and line gear and fixed pot/trap gear on these Delaware reef sites.
The Council voted to recommend to the Regional Administrator that all five permitted Delaware reef sites be designated as SMZs year-round. The SMZ designation would restrict fishing to hook and line and spear fishing gear only (take by hand would also be permitted) within the area of each reef site. The Council also recommended that each SMZ include a buffer of 500 yards surrounding each reef site to facilitate enforcement. The Regional Administrator has the authority to implement SMZs through a regulatory amendment process which will include the opportunity for additional public comment.