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Five Special Management Areas Proposed around Artificial Reefs off Delaware

In 2011, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council received a request from Delaware's Fish and Wildlife Division to designate five artificial reef sites as Special Management Zones. These areas each encompass roughly one square nautical mile of federal water off the coast of Delaware. The artificial reefs, built by Delaware Fish and Wildlife, under an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit, with funding from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were established to enhance recreational fishing. Over the years, recreational hook-and-line fishermen have voiced concerns that their gear often becomes entangled with lines from commercial pot fisheries.

The Council and NOAA Fisheries developed recommendations to reduce gear conflict while  maintaining the social economic benefits for all users. These recommendations were shared broadly during three public meetings. The Council refined its recommendations based on public input and asked that NOAA Fisheries to implement final measures. NOAA Fisheries is now seeking further public comment on the following recommendations:

The deadline for public comments HAS BEEN EXTENDED UNTIL 5 p.m. EST, August 19, 2014.  Click here to read more about the proposed measures, PLEASE NOTE THE PROPOSED RULE CONTAINS THE ORIGINAL August 4 deadline.