NJ DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
NATURAL AND HISTORIC RESOURCES
DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
Notice of Rule Proposal
Marine Fisheries: General Net Regulations, N.J.A.C. 7:25-18.5, and Artificial Reefs, N.J.A.C. 7:25-18.5A
Take notice that the NJ Department of Environmental Protection is proposing amendments to the rules governing general net regulations at N.J.A.C. 7:25-18.5 and proposing a new rule, Artificial Reefs, at N.J.A.C. 7:25-18.5A to limit the use of lobster, fish and conch pots on the Sandy Hook and Axel Carlson Reefs to specific “full access zones” within each reef. Commercial and recreational anglers and sport/scuba divers will continue to have full access to all parts of the reefs including the full access zones.
The proposed amendments and new rule require that commercial and recreational lobster potters setting and tending gear within the full access zones do so only between the hours of sunrise and sunset and that they call the Marine Law Enforcement Headquarters two hours prior to doing so. Individual pots set in these zones must be marked with a buoy and a string of pots must have a buoy attached to both ends. Buoys or flags shall meet the requirements of NOAA’s take reduction plans for Atlantic Large Whale, Harbor Porpoise and Bottlenose Dolphin. All strings shall be limited to 20 pots. Penalty structures for violating these requirements are included in the proposed amendments and new rule and are based on a 1st, 2nd and in some cases a 3rd offense. Fines and penalties range from $100.00 to $200.00 and suspension of license or permanent revocation. The proposed amendments and new rule provide for forgiveness of a violation following a period of compliance.
The proposal is scheduled to be published in the New Jersey Register dated February 2, 2015.
A copy of the proposal is available at: https://dep.nj.gov/wp-content/uploads/rules/proposals/20150202a.pdf; and the LexisNexis free public access to the New Jersey Register, https://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/njoal/).
Written comments may be submitted electronically by April 2, 2015 at https://nj.gov/dep/rules/comments/; or
in hard copy to:
Gary J. Brower, Esq.
ATTN: DEP Docket No. 14-14-12
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Office of Legal Affairs
Mail Code 401-04L; PO Box 402
401 East State Street, 7th Floor
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402