N.J. to get pots off reefs

Strings of lobster and fish pots have made it difficult for anglers to drift - or even anchor on the reefs

Dave Chanda, Director of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, announced at last month's Marine Fisheries Council meeting that the Division will administratively prohibit the setting of pots on artificial reefs within state waters. Those reefs were built with Wallop-Breaux Sportfishing Funds that can be used only for recreational purposes - and have been expanded with donations from recreational fishermen and divers, but strings of lobster and fish pots have made it difficult for anglers to drift - or even anchor on the reefs. Sportsmen had been trying to get legislation approved to accomplish the same thing, but after winning a unanimous vote in the State Senate last year, Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts (D-Camden) wouldn't allow the companion bill to be voted on in his chamber. The commercial Garden State Seafood Association then held a big fundraiser for Roberts over the winter, making prospects for the legislation look grim.