2017 Fluke Regulations/Heins for MAFMC Seat/ No to Commercial Fishing Advocate - The Fisherman

2017 Fluke Regulations/Heins for MAFMC Seat/ No to Commercial Fishing Advocate

2017 Fluke Regulations Set by Emergency Measure

With Option 5 of the fluke management plan approved by ASMFC’s technical committee and signed off on by NOAA last Tuesday, New York’s Department of Conservation is proceeding with emergency regulations to adopt the approved measures. The season will remain the same as last year – May 17 to September 21 – but the size limit will increase one inch to 19 inches and the bag limit will drop from five fish to three.

Support Steve Heins for MAFMC Seat

Stephen Heins has been with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation since 1988 and is retiring this month after 31 years in the Bureau of Marine Resources. He has served as the designee to Mr. Jim Gilmore, Director of NYDEC’s Bureau of Marine Resources, coordinated the marine finfish and crustacean programs and served on ASMFC’s Management and Science Committee and NEAMAP Board. He is past Chair of ASMFC’s Artificial Reef Committee, served as Director James Gilmore’s representative to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, and sat on numerous committees. He has B.S. in Marine Science and an M.S. in Marine Environmental Science from the State University of New York. Prior to his career with the DEC, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

He is on Governor Cuomo’s list as a candidate for New York’s obligatory seat on the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council and I don’t believe there has ever been a candidate more qualified for the position than Steve. He is a life-long angler with a thorough knowledge of both sectors of New York’s fisheries. It is critical that the recreational fishing community have someone like Steve, who understands the needs of recreational anglers and the recreational industry, in that obligatory seat.

Steve has been instrumental in the development of, and securing funding for, numerous projects during his tenure with DEC. Among them, the Green Island Fishing Access Site; many reef sites including The Fisherman Reef; launch ramps including Mattituck, Captree, Moriches Waterway and Oyster Ponds. He has always made himself available and has been a valued source of information to the recreational community for nearly three decades. Steve has a proven track record of working with the New York fishing community to build the consensus required to restore, stabilize and grow our fisheries.

Please send a letter of support for Stephen Hines to: Samuel D. Rauch, III, Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Endorsements may also be emailed to Council.Appointments@noaa.gov.

No to Commercial Fishng Advocate

There is a bill rearing its ugly head currently before the Committee on Environmental Conservation seeking to amend the environmental conservation law and establish a state commercial fishing advocate “to assist the Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC) in performing its duties with regard to the state’s commercial fishing industry.” Introduced by Senator LaValle in the senate and Assemblyman Thiele in the assembly, the bill was brought to our attention by Assemblyman Steven Englebright, who chairs the conservation committee.

The ramifications of the bill are scary if you read between the lines the details outlined in assembly bill A5193 and S4248. It authorizes the advocate to review any regulatory barriers which may impede the development, retention, diversification or long term vitality of the commercial fishing industry; To assist DEC in obtaining information necessary for the development and improvement of state policies and programs affecting commercial fishing; To advise the MRAC, DEC, Department of Economic Development, the governor and the legislature concerning legislation necessary to foster and promote the long term vitality and development of the commercial fishing industry. It also requires DEC and “other state agencies” to provide the necessary technical and staff assistance to the commercial advocate to enable the advocate to carry out the functions, powers, and duties provided by this act.

These are just some of the concerns outlined in a bill that threatens the integrity of the MRAC, which is made up of recreational and commercial appointees who are tasked with advising DEC on issues related to our marine resources. The existence of a commercial advocate tasked with advising the council could certainly create an imbalance in the ability of the council to function as it was intended. Many of the components of this bill also provide the advocate with the unique power to lobby for and against regulations that could be detrimental to some fisheries in order to expand commercial opportunities. To add insult to injury, it has also been suggested that the advocate position be funded by the excise tax collected on fishing tackle.

If you believe the bill is bad news for recreational anglers and those concerned with managing our marine resources, please mail or email a letter to: Assemblyman Steven Englebright (149 Main St. East Setauket, NY 11733 – EngleS@nyassembly.gov) stating that you are opposed to the bill and do not want to see it pass out of committee.

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