This was just sent in from Bill’s Sport Shop, and requested to be sent to our readers … recreational anglers.
Gentlemen, After years of putting up with huge numbers of commercial fish pots on our reef sites, we finally have a series of public hearings scheduled to collect public sentiment for and against Special Management Zone status for our 5 permitted ocean reef sites. You can be sure the commercial interests will show up in numbers, and that their opinion will carry a lot of weight with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. We have grumbled and complained for years. Now is the time recreational anglers must make the effort to attend one of these hearings and make a statement in favor of SMZ’s. I am contacting you, hoping you can attend and help get the word out to recreational anglers you may know. This will be our only opportunity to let the MAFMC know how strongly we feel about this issue.
This is our one chance to solve this gear conflict issue. Failure to gain SMZ status will result in the loss of federal Sportfish Restoration Funds for reef development, as has already happened in New Jersey. This would end what has been an active and productive reef program. I look forward to seeing you on January 16, or whatever hearing date is most convenient for you. Thanks for your support on this issue.
Jeff Tinsman, Delaware Reef Program Coordinator
The SMZ hearing schedule is listed below.