New Jersey officials have formally proposed rules that would dictate who can use artificial reefs in the ocean for fishing purposes.

For years, the "pots off the reefs" movement simmered in New Jersey, one of the few states where commercial fishing interests were allowed to place gear at man-made, underwater reef sites that were often reserved for recreational anglers who fish the habitat the reefs provide. Commercial fishermen argued that they supported the reef system's construction off New Jersey, while recreational anglers pointed to a tax on recreational fishing equipment and marine fuel that funded most of the reef system's construction. The issue was further complicated when the federal government began withholding $250,000 in annual funding from New Jersey due to the concerns that recreational anglers were being denied reef access.

Fishing with pots – commercial grade crab, lobster and shellfish traps – is mainly a practice used by commercial fishermen.

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