TRENTON - New Jersey lawmakers have given final approval to a bill that would allow experimental oyster colonies in polluted waters to improve them.

The state Senate approved a bill Tuesday allowing environmental and research groups to establish colonies in polluted waters, including the Raritan Bay, as long as the colonies are invisible to and not easily accessible to the public.

The state has prohibited such colonies for nearly six years, fearing that poachers could introduce potentially tainted seafood into the market, damaging New Jersey's lucrative shellfish industry.

Changes to the bill require the state to allow the colonies once the research groups certify in writing that the oysters are not easily visible or accessible.

The bill now goes to Gov. Chris Christie.