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Artificial Reef Program Launches Into a New Season of Reefing


May 24, 2017

The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife's Artificial Reef Program begin the 2017 season with the sinking of the F/V Fisherman's Dream. The 87-foot scallop boat has been donated to the program by Mr. Nam Win of Cape May, NJ for inclusion on the Townsends Inlet Reef. Sponsors of the program include the Cape May County Charter and Party Boat Association and The Sportfishing Fund. The deployment follows the joint effort with Delaware to sink the Zuni/Tamaroa (see the DEP News Release for details).

Deployment is scheduled for May 30, sea and weather conditions permitting.

The Fisherman's Dream (photo) is among 9 vessels the Division plans to deploy in 2017, including the Mt. Sinai, an 80-foot dragger being sunk as the ribbon cutting vessel on the new Manasquan Inlet Reef site, and a 90-foot fire rescue boat being sunk on the Manasquan Inlet site around September 11, 2017 to honor all first responders.

The vessels are being sunk to create habitat for fish and enhance recreational fishing and sport diving opportunities in waters off the coast of the state. Old vessels and other materials used in artificial reefs provide surfaces for organisms such as algae, barnacles, mussels, sea stars, and sea fans to grow on. This colonization occurs in as little as two weeks. These organisms attract smaller fish which, in turn, attract black sea bass, tautog, summer flounder, scup, lobster and other sought-after species.
Fully colonized artificial reef structure
Fully Colonized Concrete (photo courtesy Herb Segars)
Click to enlarge
Artificial reefs are extremely popular with anglers and divers, contributing to the state's economy through the creation of tourism opportunities and jobs. New Jersey's commercial fishing industry ranks 7th in the nation in retail sales, and supports $327 million in salaries and wages and nearly 13,000 jobs.

Recreational saltwater fishing brings in more than $640 million in retail sales and is directly responsible for nearly 10,000 jobs and more than $242 million in tax revenues, including $165 million in state and local taxes.

For information on previous reef deployments, visit:;
For more information on New Jersey's Artificial Reef Program, visit:

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: May 24, 2017