The Department of Environmental Protection’s artificial reef deployment program is back on course as a result of restoration of federal funding.
The DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife plans to sink as many as 10 vessels by the end of fall to become part of the its network of artificial reefs.
Three ships were deployed at the Axel Carlson Reef, southeast of Manasquan Inlet, the third one being the 65-foot crew boat NY Harbor Charlie.
“Artificial reefs create important habitat for many types of marine life, and attract fish that are popular with recreational anglers,” said commissioner Bob Martin. “Our artificial reefs are an important part of the economy of the Jersey Shore because they are so popular with anglers as well as sport divers. We are grateful to all our partners in the recreational and commercial fishing industries for working with us to get this program back on track.”
The DEP’s artificial reef program will perform an archeological survey on the new reef. The program also will be conducting an archeological survey for construction of an additional reef in Delaware Bay, which the Division of Fish and Wildlife has been planning for years.
“The artificial reef program has a long and proven track record of enhancing ecological diversity and productivity,” said Brandon Muffley, administrator of the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Fisheries Administration.
The DEP and Rutgers University will be evaluating which artificial reef structure materials attract the most fish.
Artificial reefs are extremely popular with anglers and divers, contributing to the state’s economy through the creation of tourism opportunities and jobs.