Pallone: Fishermen Must Have Access to Waters at Sandy Hook & New Fence Impedes Access
Dear Commissioner Campbell:
I am writing in regard to the fence recently erected at the Coast Guard Station on Sandy Hook. As you know, the fence prevents access to about a mile of open beach known as "the Rip" that is recognized as a leading surf-fishing destination for catching striped bass, bluefish and fluke.
I understand that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is reviewing the Coast Guard Station fence through a federal consistency determination under the Land Use Regulation Program. I appreciate the Coast Guard's concerns for security, but I believe the construction of this fence is not consistent with providing public access for the many fishermen who have traditionally benefited from having access to those waters.
In addition, the United States Coast Guard has constructed this fence without public hearing or comment. Before there is any final decision made on the Federal Consistency determination, the state should hold a public meeting to let the opinions of local residents be heard.
Because of these concerns, I believe there are some questions as to whether the newly constructed fence is consistent with the NJDEP Land Use Policy. If it is determined that the fence should be removed, public access would be restored to the fishermen who have a right to fish on an already limited amount of beachfront resources.
I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to working with your office in advocating a solution that will protect public access for recreational fishermen.
FRANK PALLONE, JR.
Member of Congress