ATLANTIC CITY — Officials and anglers are focused on building safe access to the T-jetty at Oriental Avenue and the Boardwalk, to help fishers walk to deeper water out in the inlet, U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew said Monday.

After meetings last week of Van Drew’s Atlantic City Jetty Access Task Force, Van Drew said there was agreement among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, fishing enthusiasts and a representative of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority that stairs of some kind are needed there, and perhaps some surface cover on top of the rocks.

“We are moving forward in a positive way,” he said. “We are not done yet, but going in the right direction.”

The jetties allow fishers to get out into deeper water without a boat, and the rocks of the jetties attract fish to them, according to fishers.

But the jetties can be difficult to get to from the new Boardwalk in Absecon Inlet, built by the Army Corps and owned by the city. They have to climb over the Boardwalk railing and down about 10 feet of thin wooden boards to reach the jetties.

In April, Van Drew held a news conference to announce plans to meet with officials and fishers to try to address the problem.

“I’m ecstatic about it,” said Noel Feliciano, owner of One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City. “It’s something different to do for every tourist who comes to Atlantic City, to come fish.”

Feliciano said he believes access will eventually be built to more jetties, and said there is more than a mile of fishing area on all the city’s jetties combined.

“We are surrounded by water — the biggest asset we have is water,” Feliciano said of the importance of giving tourists and residents the ability to get to it to fish.

Van Drew said he is talking to the CRDA about some financial support for the project.

“It will be beneficial for recreation and tourism and for the residents of the city,” Van Drew said.

CRDA Executive Director Matt Doherty could not be reached for comment.

The state Legislature also recently passed a bill that codifies the “public-trust doctrine,” which states that everyone has a right to enjoy tidal waters and shorelines.

In 2016, Feliciano collected more than 1,000 signatures on a petition asking the city to give fishers access to jetties from the new seawall, which was still being built. It opened in the spring of 2017.

Contact: 609-272-7219 Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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