Assembly Republican Conference Leader David P. Rible called a proposal to establish a marine sanctuary in rich fishing grounds off the New Jersey coast a blatant attack on the state’s fishermen and industry.

A proposal from an entity that runs the New York Aquarium asks the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to designate the Hudson Canyon as a National Marine Sanctuary. This status would prevent drilling and mining and could lead to a prohibition on fishing in order to protect the area.

“This plan that could ban fishing in the waters off of the coast of New Jersey under the guise of creating a sanctuary would be a direct blow to New Jersey’s fishing industry,” said Rible. “The Hudson Canyon is a well-known and popular area for our fishermen – blocking access would further damage our industry.”

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The Hudson Canyon is a rich fishing ground for New Jersey’s recreational and commercial fishermen and is home to many species such as tuna and squid.

“The Draconian summer flounder restrictions are already potentially devastating for our area, and New Jersey fishermen simply cannot afford another hit,” said Rible. “I hope that Secretary Ross and the Trump Administration will reject this proposal and protect our fishing industry and the state’s economy.”

The Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary proposal was added to NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ list of areas for consideration on February 23, 2017. The Hudson Canyon proposal, if selected by NOAA, is then subject to a series of steps before receiving sanctuary status.

Editor's Note: Assemblyman David P. Rible represents the 30th Legislative District, which includes 14 municipalities in Monmouth and Ocean counties, including Belmar and Lake Como.