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June 21, 1999

For more information contact:
John Marchetti at 609-984-6295

An army tank that was sunk last summer by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish, Game & Wildlife's Artificial Reef Program was recently purchased and dedicated to the memory of the late Joseph M. Doherty. Mr. Doherty, who passed away on September 28, 1998, was an avid sportsman dedicated to New Jersey's wildlife.

Annually, the Division's Artificial Reef Program sinks structures to create and/or enhance reef sites off the Jersey coast. The costs of creating these sites are quite extensive and limited state funds are available to sink structures and vessels. Therefore, most of the work needed to clean and prepare materials for sinking must be paid through private donations. Companies, clubs, organizations and private individuals donate funds to have their name, the name of an ardent saltwater angler, or an advertisement for a marine business on a New Jersey shipwreck.

The Axel Carlson Reef, just two miles off Point Pleasant, was the site selected to honor Mr. Doherty, who loved to saltwater fish nearby with his family. This site will now be known as the Joseph M. Doherty Memorial Reef in honor of Mr. Doherty's love and respect for the wildlife of the Garden State.

Funds received to purchase the army tank on the Joseph M. Doherty Memorial Reef were acquired through donations the Division received from family, friends and relatives of Mr. Doherty. His wife Marjorie, requested donations to the Division in lieu of flowers to commemorate his passing. A total of $595 was collected.

Artificial reefs provide underwater homes, as well as feeding areas and refuges from predators, for marine fish and shellfish. They also serve as attachment surfaces for other marine life such as mussels, barnacles and organisms that form the basis of the reef food chain. Once established, reef sites offer excellent opportunities for fishing, diving and underwater photography.

Although Mr. Doherty will be missed, his lifelong support and love for the outdoors will continue to benefit the wildlife and people of New Jersey. In his memory, the following memorial statement will appear in all appropriate Division and Artificial Reef Association publications: "In memory of Joe Doherty, a true all-around sportsman. May his love of the outdoors live on in the future of this reef."

Anyone wishing to honor or remember a lost loved one by donating to the Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife may contact the Division by calling John Marchetti at 609-984-6296. Upon receiving these tax-deductible donations, the Division will utilize the funds to benefit a special area or program that most appropriately complements the memory of the deceased.