Take Back New Jersey’s Reefs

Tangles of ropes and commerical gear can snag fishing lines and anchors.

Pictured above: Tangles of ropes and commercial gear can snag fishing lines and anchors.

During their summer vacation, a family saved up for a half-day charter to fish New Jersey’s reefs. The kids were excited and the hour long trip to the fishing spot didn’t seem to take any time at all. The captain dropped anchor and lines went in the water. And that’s where the fun stopped. These anglers spent the next two hours untangling hooks and tackle from the commercial pots, traps, and lines covering the reef. The boat even lost its anchor on fouled gear.

The end result – no fish caught, charter business lost, and bored kids who may never go fishing again.

Unfortunately, this scenario has happened all too frequently for NJ anglers.

Several years ago, New Jersey invested recreational angler dollars to construct a network of artificial reefs. Unfortunately, commercial fishermen moved in and blanketed these reefs with pots and traps that snag lines. Between the gear and lines on the bottom and the markers on the surface, some of these reefs have become unfishable.

Now, after a nine-year struggle, there is an opportunity to limit 13 of these reefs to hook and line and spear fishing – the types of fishing each reef was designed for – by designating them a Special Management Zone (SMZ). The Mid Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (MAFMC) is soliciting public opinion on the proposed SMZ designations and they need to hear from NJ anglers like you.

Like public parks, these reefs were built to benefit as many people as possible. If the SMZ designations are passed, commercial fishermen face minimal to no losses in revenue and recreational fishermen get their reefs back.

Send a message to MAFMC today. Comments are due this month so don’t delay.

7 on “Take Back New Jersey’s Reefs

  1. Greg

    I fish the Cape May and Wildwood Reefs often during the Summer and have seen too many people on my boat losing rigs and bucktails on the commercial gear. It has gotten so bad that you need to figure out the direction of the gear and then set your drift accordingly which often does not relate to the optimal boat positioning. Please remove this gear from the reefs.
    Thank You


      I stopped fishing the reefs because all you do out there now is loose your tackle that is not cheap by any means on all the nets and bouy lines I lost 2 anchors that got tangled in nets .thats anchor,chain, rope and attaching equiptment Then when drifting you loose what 100 feet of line or more your weight rig bait and the fish on the end of your hook caught in a net on the bottom no more reef fishing for me plus the fuel for the run out and back not worth it anymore to me .

  2. charlie

    Please keep Cape May and WW reefs open to recreational fisherman only.The ocean is huge
    Commercial fisherman can surely find other locations.

  3. jay

    in 2008 i went to nj chasin bass ,just decided at around midnight i was heading from boston to nj and did it .i loved it .People said i was foolish and didn’t know the area but I said F it ,I’m leavin . I was glad i went ,the fishing of the nj coast is great and it’s a sin to f the env up with that trash …had a great time until my car was totaled on the nj turnpike or rte 1 ,maybe they are one in the same ,idk but I was stuck for another 3 days in 600 dol per night hotel room w a girl that irritated me to no end .Met a great dude down there named Steve who was a tremendous help to my gf and I.Steve was a cab driver that worked around the Nassau inn in Princeton NJ . I’M Still friends w Steve and I NJ ,I gotta say it gets a shitty rap but idk why ,i thought it was really nice and the fishing wa every bit as good as New England is from May to November ,the only issue I had was that turnpike ,my God it’s a death trap but I hope the state does something to lessen the damage being done off the coast ,damn shame and avoidable too.I hope they hear from all of you guys and you regain the use of all of those reefs, not just the13 of them .There are plenty of areas to destroy by comm fishing further off shore.Let the recreational fisherman take advantage of the resource that my dumb ass drove 6 hours in the middle of the night w a difficult female to experience.I also lost perfectly fine truck in doing so but i still maintain that it was worth it .Best of luck NJ

  4. Richard DiCaprio

    Please restrict commercial fishermen from fishing on our artificial reefs. I personally contributed to one and I am disgusted with this circumstance. Let them build their own reefs, we built ours. If you don’t stop this nothing will be left for our children .

    1. Richard DiCaprio

      Please restrict commercial fishermen from fishing on our artificial reefs. I personally contributed to one of them. Let them build their own reefs. If we don’t act immediately there won’t be anything left for our children. I’m 74; and have fished the Jersey shore for 60 years. Never before have conditions been as dire as this. I hope I’m alive to see things start to improve.

  5. Huffy

    Loosing battle. money goes to money . I should have videotaped alot of shit over the years but i.m trying to fish. I live 2 hrs from the shore .what a shame .but they check my boat every time i.m back at the dock .t
    F.them all .sick of it .I threw my keepers at them last time

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