Editors Log: Supporting NJ Reefs - The Fisherman

Editors Log: Supporting NJ Reefs

Thanks to the generous donations of individual anglers and statewide fishing clubs, The Sportfishing Fund recently announced four new planned deployments at New Jersey’s artificial reef complex slated for this month.

  • 85-foot scallop boat for Cape May Reef; sponsor partner South Jersey Artificial Reef Association.
  • 45-foot Tug “Tibor” on the Barnegat Light Reef; sponsor partner Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association.
  • 85-foot scallop boat on the Sea Girt Reef; sponsor partner Manasquan River Marlin and Tuna Club.
  • 105-foot tugboat “New England Coast” on the Shark River Reef; as yet unsponsored.

The deployments are planned for some time this month and are dependent on weather.  It is anticipated the two scallop boats will be towed in tandem behind the New England Coast and deployed from south to north, with the first scallop boat sunk on day one and the second one along with the New England Coast deployed on day two. The Tibor tug will be deployed separately.

The Sportfishing fund is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that’s reliant on individual donations.  Established in 1987, the organization has partnered with individual states, fishing clubs, corporations and private individuals for the past 35 years to make projects happen, some which are years in the making.  There was once a time in this state where a majority of the charitable donations from fishing tournaments along the Jersey Shore went towards reef building efforts via The Sportfishing Fund; for tournament organizers looking for a non-profit to support moving forward, let me personally and professionally recommend The Sportfishing Fund.

It’s an organization dedicated to building artificial reefs, helping increase marine habitat while supporting $1.7 billion of economic impact that recreational fishing adds to New Jersey’s economy.  The charitable non-profit fund has been instrumental in the success of New Jersey’s artificial reef program; recent projects include the 7th grade science class Reef Ball Project at Lazar Middle school, the deployment of the Tamaroa, the Radford and thousands of tons of additional reef building materials.

Several years ago during the Pots Off Reef battle to remove fixed commercial gear from New Jersey’s artificial reef complex, a series of unfortunate events caused federal funding for reefs to stall bringing about a general malaise in reef building.  Those days are long gone; the fixed gear issue was remedied by Governor Christie, and federal Sport Fish Restoration Funds have been restored towards New Jersey’s ongoing efforts to build more reef structure.   It’s time to get back into the artificial reef game folks!

Since 1984, the Marine Resources Administration of New Jersey has been involved in an intensive program of artificial reef construction and biological monitoring with a purpose of creating a network of artificial reefs in the ocean waters along the New Jersey coast to provide a hard substrate for fish, shellfish and crustaceans, fishing grounds for anglers, and underwater structures for scuba divers. Deployments are donated and funded by outside organizations with oversight and coordination provided by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and its Division of Fish & Wildlife through this wildly successful Artificial Reef Program.

New Jersey’s reef building efforts are one of the best examples of private/public partnerships between the government and the people; kudos to the South Jersey Artificial Reef Association, Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association and the Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Club for continuing to step up in support of more fish habitat to be enjoyed by all anglers at the Jersey Shore.

If you’d like to learn more about sponsoring the New England Coast, or for info on building memorial reefs and future projects please contact my good friend Brian Nunes-Vais at The Sportfishing Fund at 973-216-6216.


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