Public hearings scheduled to collect public sentiment for and against Special Management Zone (SMZ) status for our 5 permitted ocean reef sites

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.

January 15: 7– 9 pm; Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel, 10100 Coastal Highway Ocean City, MD 21842 (410-524-3535);
January 16: 7–9 p.m.; DNREC – Division of Watershed Stewardship Bldg., 901 Pilottown Road, Lewes, DE  19958
January 17 : 7–9 pm.; Ocean County Administration Building, 101 Hooper Avenue, Public Hearing Room #119, Toms River, NJ 08754.
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From DSF …. Attend a meeting near you, not just these, but any of them, and be heard as a recreational angler.  A presence that is never fully represented, compared to the numbers of anglers we have in Delaware.  Thanks for your support and concerns for our tidal waters.  You can help make a difference in the “workings” of our fisheries by just being heard.  Many of these meetings are never attended by the recreational angler.  We definitely mean no ill will towards the commercial folks, but these reef programs are important for the sustainability of our waters in the future.  More fish and life in our waters will mean a much more profitable industry in the future, and cleaner water.  Many reef inhabitants clean or filter water naturally.  Reefs also help slow down, and break up water surges from storms.  More of these would be a good thing off of our coasts.  Having federal money to do so is very important to the Sate of Delaware.
Fish On!!
Rich King

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