The Christie administration is trying to again block a Rutgers University-led research group from blasting sound waves on the ocean floor, saying it will harm marine life and disrupt the state’s $1 billion commercial and recreational fishing industry.
In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Friday, the state Department of Environmental Protection says the study that began this week off the coast of Long Beach Island violates federal laws protecting marine animals such as humpback whales making their spring migration up the East Coast.
The study, which received federal permits last year, intends to collect data about sediment on the ocean floor to determine historic trends of sea level rise along the Jersey Shore dating back 60 million years. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Rutgers researchers have said the study could be used to help make decisions on where to elevate houses, build protective barriers or relocate critical infrastructure.
But state officials say the seismic blasts, in waters 18 to 45 miles southeast of Barnegat Inlet, will cause fish to move out of an area that has already been well-established for fishing during one of the busiest times of the year for anglers.
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