BARNEGAT LIGHT — Tears mixed with the salty air of the sea Saturday as more than 200 people showed up to help dedicate the Fishermen’s Story Memorial near the Barnegat Lighthouse.
The memorial was created in memory of Jim Mears, who died Jan. 11, 2012, when his commercial fishing boat, the Mandy Ness, sank off Long Beach Island. He and his two brothers, Dan and Rick, had gone out in three separate boats in search of monkfish.
“It’s been an emotional day,” said Mears’ sister, Beth Mears Schofield, 49, of Barnegat.
Around the base of the memorial is an explanation of New Jersey’s fishing history and a dedication to other fishermen lost at sea. The statue shows Mears “in a moment of satisfaction, leaning against the rig and kinda staring out into the inlet,” said Brian Hanlon, 52, of Toms River, who sculpted the memorial. “Hopefully, the other boats see him and take a moment to reflect.”