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HELP SHAPE THE USE OF LONG ISLAND SOUND

A webinar set for November 21 will allow user groups of Long Island Sound an opportunity to help guide future management of the Sound.
By Toby Lapinski  |  November 13, 2017
HELP SHAPE THE USE OF LONG ISLAND SOUND
The Blue Plan will help minimize conflicts between marine life and human uses of the Sound, such as navigation and aquaculture. (Image courtesy of Navionics)

In the summer of 2015, through efforts of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environment (DEEP) and others, the Long Island Sound Blue Plan was enacted. The goal of the “Blue Plan” is to, “establish a process by which Connecticut will develop an inventory of Long Island Sound's natural resources and uses and, ultimately, a spatial plan to guide future use of the Sound's waters and submerged lands.”

The Blue Plan will help minimize conflicts between marine life and human uses of the Sound, such as navigation and aquaculture. The Blue Plan is intended to prioritize the protection of existing natural resources and uses such as fishing, aquaculture, and navigation from future conflicting or incompatible activities and would not create new regulatory restrictions for them.

Under the Blue Plan bill, an inventory of Long Island Sound's natural resources and uses must be completed by a Long Island Sound Inventory and Science subcommittee that will be convened by the University of Connecticut.”

Currently, Connecticut's Coastal Management Program (CMP) protects coastal resources and guides development along the immediate coast. The development of a Blue Plan for Long Island Sound will supplement the CMP's existing authority in the deeper offshore reaches of the Sound.

The Blue Plan will also remain "fluid," adapting as necessary to our ever-evolving knowledge and understanding of the marine environment, recognizing current issues like climate change impacts and sea level rise adaptation while anticipating and addressing future emerging issues. Another significant benefit of the Blue Plan will be the identification of appropriate locations and performance standards for activities, uses, and facilities that are regulated by state permit programs, developing measures that will guide the siting of those uses in ways that are consistent with the Plan.

Last week, while out doing some blackfishing on Long Island Sound, one of the guys on the boat with me mentioned an upcoming webinar relating to the Blue Plan. While I hate to admit it, I was unfortunately unfamiliar with the Blue Plan, although it did seem vaguely familiar.

Well, low and behold that evening I received the following email.

ATTENTION CONNECTICUT AND LONG ISLAND FISHING CLUBS, ASSOCIATIONS, GROUPS OR CASUAL GET-TOGETHERS
YOUR VOICE IS IMPORTANT!

Hey, Fishers.

The Long Island Sound Blue Plan has arrived and is being populated. The Blue Plan does not regulate fisheries and the intent of the Blue Plan is to protect existing traditional uses such as fishing – including areas where fishing exists today. The interest at the moment is to identify all pertinent Long Island Sound resources and uses, including recreational fishing, documenting them accordingly. These will be used to "guide future management of the Sound's waters and submerged lands." This is your opportunity to let your feelings/concerns be known and relate thoughts regarding your fishing to those seeking your input.

This is what the focus will be on in an upcoming Webinar on November 21 at 7pm. This is your opportunity to take part in the early stages of the Blue Plan and have a direct influence in its development. It is time to take action!

To reserve your space on the webinar, respond to Christian Fox, below, by November 17 after which your reservation will be confirmed and a packet will be sent with the essential documents along with log-in information. If there will be more than one recreational fisher affiliated with your group attending, have them register individually. Looking forward to your valued input now and throughout the process. Now is the time to speak up! To register and participate for free, follow the instructions listed below.

To register, or if you have any questions, please contact Christian Fox at DEEP.BluePlanLIS@ct.gov or see the Blue Plan web page.

Tight Lines,
Captain Morgan

One of the biggest complaints I hear from fishermen and women up and down the coats is that they feel like their voice is not heard. Well, while this is not a meeting directly relating to the management of a specific species within the Sound, the outcome of this webinar will affect how management is prioritized in the future by establishing some baseline data on how the different user groups utilize the resource.

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