N.J. plans new reef for recreational fishing

It’s the result of a compromise announced Thursday in a dispute between recreational and commercial fishing interests over access to artificial reefs off the coast.

Under the plan, commercial fishermen will have continued access to portions of the two existing reefs in state waters, which are off Sandy Hook and Manasquan. But a debate remains on who should have access to reefs in federal waters off New Jersey.

State officials said the agreement is expected to resolve federal concerns that commercial fishing is intruding on and hampering recreational fishing in artificial reefs in state waters, which extend to three miles offshore.

The reefs, which are magnets for fish, are funded by excise taxes on recreational fishing gear and motor boat fuel. Private donations also support the costs of obtaining, cleaning and deploying suitable material to build the reefs.

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