Earlier this week, I woke up early, squeezed into my wetsuit, and caught a few fun waves at Belmar beach. No matter what month it is or how cold the water might be, the ocean will always amaze me. The marine coast is special and a huge reason why we love calling the Jersey Shore "home".

AWESOME NEWS! Just two miles east of the Manasquan Inlet, the Department of Environmental Protection expanded its offshore artificial reef program by dumping concrete forms into the ocean. The dump added nearly 1.25 acres of artificial reef habitat. It might seem bizarre but this technique provides a habitat for a variety of marine life. The recent concrete dump will quickly be colonized by barnacles, mussels, crabs, sponges, corals, algae, and sea stars. The smaller living species will then of course attract black sea bass, lobster, and other larger marine life. This will also provide opportunities for recreational anglers and divers.

"This collaboration gives new life to these materials, keeping it out of landfills and providing habitat for a wide array of marine life, including species important to New Jersey's world-class commercial and recreational fishing sectors," said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe.

The state has many man-made reefs off its coast consisting of concrete, steel, decommissioned ships, and barges. The state's artificial reef program began 36 years ago. The Jersey Shore coast now has 17 reefs spanning 25 square miles of the ocean floor.

Always nice to see positive Jersey Shore news as we head into the holiday season. Thank you to NJ.com for breaking the story! - Jimmy G

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