SHIP BOTTOM (AP) — Fishermen along the Jersey shore are worried that a sand-mining operation could ruin a fish habitat.

US Army Corp of Engineer craft used in dredging off the Jersey Shore (US Army Corp of Engineers)

The Press of Atlantic City reports the Jersey Coast Anglers Association is threatening a lawsuit as it tries to get a dredging operation moved away from an area known as the Manasquan Ridge. Fishermen say it's a prime fishing area.

Environmental groups say the project is sacrificing the health of fish habitats for housing developments.

A spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection defended the beach replenishment project and says you have to make trade-offs when it comes to protecting lives and "billions of dollars" in real estate.

The first operation is set start off Long Beach Island. As much as 7 million cubic yards of sand will be mined.

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