Contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Delaware hosts Mid-Atlantic Fishery Council public hearing
on special management zone designation for artificial reefs
DOVER (Jan. 14, 2013) – A series of public hearings this week in Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Council will receive comment on proposed Special Management Zone designation for Delaware’s artificial reefs that would restrict the kinds of fishing gear used on the reefs, particularly for commercial catches. The Delaware hearing is slated for 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 16, at DNREC’s facility at 901 Pilottown Road, Lewes, 19958.
Delaware petitioned the council to designate five ocean artificial reef sites as special management zones (SMZs) in June 2011. The petition was made to reduce gear conflicts between recreational fishermen and pot/trap gear placed at those sites by commercial fishermen. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Council cautions that if the gear conflicts continue, Delaware will likely lose its federal funding (Sport Fish Restoration Funds) for its artificial reef program in federal waters (beyond 3 miles from shore). Sport Fish Restoration funds are effectively Delaware’s only source of funding for the state’s artificial reef program managed by DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife.
The hearings in neighboring states about the SMZ designation for Delaware’s artificial reefs are:
· Maryland: Tuesday, Jan. 15, 7 p.m., Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel, 10100 Coastal Highway Ocean City, MD 21842
· New Jersey: Thursday, Jan. 17, 7 p.m. Ocean County Administration Building, 101 Hooper Avenue, Public Hearing Room 119 Toms River, NJ 08754
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Council has been evaluating Delaware's SMZ request and developed a number of options to address this issue. Options primarily consist of limiting the kinds of gear used on the SMZs, for all or parts of the year. The council is seeking public comment on the proposed options through this week’s series of public hearings.
If you would like a copy of the public hearing document and/or the report, please email the council at firstname.lastname@example.org with “SMZ Hearing Request” in the subject line, or visit http://mafmc.org/smz.htm.
Vol. 43, No. 12