Editor’s Log: Public Involvment And Contacts - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Public Involvment And Contacts

I’ll be the first to say the past few months has been a roller coaster when it comes to setting regulations for the upcoming fishing season. Fluke, and scup both saw reductions in quota. Fluke by 28% and scup by 10%. Striper regs have been an ongoing discussion since last season and into this winter. While some of you may reach out already to groups, officials, politicians, etc, I strongly encourage more of you to get involved, write in and even attend some of these meetings. Nothing moves the needle more than public opinion in numbers. For those concerned or affected by saltwater fisheries management issues, knowing who to contact and how to effectively voice concerns or seek information is important. Let’s explore some contact options for the public to voice their interests.

State Management: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

The primary state-level agency responsible for managing New York’s marine resources, including those surrounding Long Island, is the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The DEC’s Division of Marine Resources is specifically tasked with overseeing the marine environment and its inhabitants. They are the first point of contact for:

– Regulation Inquiries: Understanding size and catch limits, season dates, and other fishing regulations.

– Permitting Issues: Information on necessary permits for recreational and commercial fishing.

– Reporting Violations: A crucial aspect of resource management is the enforcement of regulations. Reports of poaching or other illegal activities are handled by the DEC.

–  Fishery Management Plans: The DEC actively works on various fishery management plans and strategies that involve stock assessments, habitat conservation, and sustainability practices.

Public involvement is encouraged, with various hearings and comment periods set up when new regulations or changes are proposed. The DEC’s website offers a wealth of information and a portal for direct communication.

Contact DEC:

– Email:[email protected]

– Phone: (631) 444-0430

Federal Management: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

At the federal level, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) plays a pivotal role, especially through its National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), also known as NOAA Fisheries. NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the stewardship of the nation’s ocean resources and their habitat. NOAA’s responsibilities include:

– Regulatory Framework: Implementing and enforcing national policies under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the primary law governing marine fisheries management in U.S. federal waters.

– Conservation Programs: Initiatives to restore endangered and threatened marine species.

– Fisheries Research: Conducting and funding research to improve our understanding of fish populations, which guides management decisions.

NOAA Fisheries also coordinates with the DEC to ensure that state and federal efforts are aligned. For those looking to get involved at a national level, attending federal council meetings and participating in comment periods on proposed regulations are effective ways to engage.

Contact NOAA Fisheries:

– Email: [email protected]

– Phone: (978) 281-9300

Local Advocacy and Research Groups

Beyond governmental bodies, numerous local organizations advocate for sustainable fisheries and marine conservation. These groups often work on specific issues like habitat restoration, pollution reduction, and educational outreach. Engaging with these organizations can be a powerful way to affect change at a more localized level. Notable groups include:

– The Nature Conservancy in New York: Focuses on water quality and fish habitat issues.

– Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program: Works on marine resource education and advocacy.

– Save the Sound: Aims to restore and protect the waters and coastline of Long Island Sound.

These organizations not only advocate for policy changes but also offer volunteer opportunities and educational programs to help the public understand the complex nature of marine ecosystems and fisheries management.

Contact Organizations:

– The Nature Conservancy in New York: (631) 329-7689

– Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program: (631) 727-7850

– Save the Sound: [email protected]

Also, do not underestimate the power of reaching out to elected representatives at the town, state, and federal levels. These officials can raise pertinent issues in legislative bodies and push for policy changes or funding for marine conservation efforts. Constituent voices are crucial in shaping their priorities.

Effective management of saltwater fisheries on Long Island requires a cooperative effort between governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and most importantly, the public. Whether through direct contact with the DEC or NOAA, involvement with local advocacy groups, or communication with elected officials, everybody plays a role in standing up for what what they believe in and being heard. By staying informed and actively participating, we can ensure that Long Island’s fisheries remain a thriving resource for generations to come.


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