The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave New Jersey permission to build two artificial reefs – one off the Manasquan Inlet and one in the Delaware Bay, state Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said Thursday. The permit comes more than a year after the federal government reinstated an artificial reef program that it had suspended for close to five years because of turf wars between recreational and commercial fishermen.
“We are very excited to move forward with this expansion of the state’s network of artificial reefs, which create important habitat for many types of marine life,” Martin said. “By enhancing recreational fishing and diving opportunities, these reefs help boost the state’s tourism economy.”
The reef to be built off Ocean County’s Manasquan Inlet is the result of a compromise the state brokered between recreational and commercial fishermen who for years had fought over access to artificial reefs because of the fish they attract. Under that compromise, reached in 2015, commercial fishermen got access to portions of two existing reefs and recreational fishermen were to get access to a square mile a new reef to be constructed off the inlet.
The compromise addresses reefs in state waters, which are up to 3 miles off the coast. Beyond those are 17 reefs in federal waters. The second reef, in Delaware Bay, had already been planned. Martin said that reef, which will be the first for that area, would expand fishing opportunities in that region.
“We are particularly pleased with the opportunity to develop Delaware Bay’s first reef site, which will help bolster tourism in that region,” he said.
Recreational fishing generates $1.5 billion in economic benefits in New Jersey annually and directly employs about 20,000 people, state officials have said. The reefs are built from various materials, such as rocks, concrete, steel, old ships and barges. Marine organisms that grow on those surfaces eventually attract many species of fish and shellfish. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had suspended funding for the artificial reef program in 2011 over concerns that commercial fishing was pushing out recreational fishermen from those sites, which are funded by taxes on recreational fishing gear and boat fuel.
The Army Corps permit allows the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife to develop the two new reefs over the next 10 years as materials suitable for reefs become available. The Manasquan Inlet Reef site is located 1.7 nautical miles southeast of the inlet, which is just north of Ocean County’s Point Pleasant Beach. When fully developed, it will occupy nearly one square mile of sea floor in water from 67 to 74 feet deep, DEP officials said. The Delaware Bay Reef site is 9.2 nautical miles southwest of the mouth of Cumberland County’s Maurice River and will occupy slightly more than a square mile of bay floor, at depths ranging from 23 feet to 35 feet.
The Army Corps permit also reauthorized continued operation and development of 15 artificial reef sites – 13 in federal waters and two in state waters.
MaryAnn Spoto may be reached at
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CHICAGO City officials Thursday fired the head of the security force charged with protecting passengers at O’Hare and Midway airports. Jeffrey Redding was terminated from his $118,020-a-year position with the Aviation Department, effective immediately, according to a statement from spokeswoman Lauren Huffman. Assistant Commissioner Kevin Zator will oversee the 292-officer security force on an interim basis, Huffman said.
Redding’s dismissal comes a week after Mayor Rahm Emanuel said “nothing and nobody is sacrosanct” in the investigation of the security force prompted by the media firestorm that resulted after Aviation Department security officers injured a Louisville doctor by dragging him off a United flight on April 9.
The Tribune reported April 21 that Redding was fired by the Illinois Tollway after officials received complaints that he sought sex and money in exchange for work-related favors. Redding acknowledged to the newspaper that he had a consensual relationship with a female toll collector, but said that was not the reason he was terminated. Redding also denied he coerced the woman into having sex or giving him money. The city’s statement Friday gave no reason for Redding’s dismissal, and representatives of the mayor’s office and the Aviation Department did not respond to questions from DNAinfo.
Three officers involved in the incident have been suspended with pay. Aviation Commission Ginger Evans has apologized for the fracas that broke Dr. David Dao’s nose, knocked out two of his front teeth and gave him a concussion. Emanuel called the conduct of the security officers “totally, all-around unacceptable.” Emanuel said Evans was due to complete a top-to-bottom review of airport security by May 5.
A proposal by 15th Ward Ald. Ray Lopez to fold the 292-officer Aviation Department security force which costs the city $19 million annually into the Chicago Police Department is pending in the City Council. Emanuel does not support that effort.
- ^ City officials Thursday fired Jeffrey Redding, the head of the security force charged with protecting passengers at O’Hare and Midway airports. (www.dnainfo.com)
- ^ Rahm Emanuel said “nothing and nobody is sacrosanct” (www.dnainfo.com)
- ^ injured a Louisville doctor (www.dnainfo.com)
- ^ RELATED: United Settles With Doctor Dragged Off Plane, But Amount Is ‘Confidential’ (www.dnainfo.com)
- ^ Tribune (www.chicagotribune.com)
- ^ suspended with pay (www.dnainfo.com)
- ^ Ginger (www.dnainfo.com)
- ^ Evans (www.dnainfo.com)
- ^ Ray (www.dnainfo.com)
- ^ Lopez (www.dnainfo.com)
- ^ Sun-Times (chicago.suntimes.com)
PATERSON – In the wake of the city’s most recent string of shootings, members of the New York-based Guardian Angels will help provide security during Paterson’s “Back-to-School” night on Thursday.
“A major uptick in violent crime, specifically shootings, has victimized Paterson,” John McEntee, Jr., president of the Paterson Education Association said in a statement. “The Guardian Angels will once again be visiting Paterson to provide security.”
Paterson Public Schools is the third largest school district in New Jersey. Members of the Guardian Angels will be present outside The Frank Lautenberg School as students, parents and staff attend the event, which is also known as “Report Card Night,” McEntee said. The Guardian Angels were also present in the district last fall for report guard night, McEntee said.
Last weekend, five people were shot – one fatally – in a spate of attacks, police said.