Private anglers, for-hire captains and tackle shop owners in New York with an interest in black sea bass regulations for 2018 should plan to attend a public meeting of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) Marine Resources on Tuesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m.

The proposed sea bass regulations are under fire by many in the recreational industry, particularly since our region was hit with a 14 percent reduction in harvest from last season. Sea bass numbers have skyrocketed in recent years and the range has expanded dramatically. Is it any wonder that the quota was exceeded? Lobstermen are complaining that they are so abundant that they are threatening the lobster population by devouring tremendous numbers of baby lobsters. Fluke fishermen in some areas have complained that baby sea bass have made it impossible to keep bait on the hooks.

Restrictions placed on the fishery by Magnuson Stevens leave little or no flexibility for fishery managers at the National Marine Fisheries Service and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to alter the regulatory process. They set quotas and a formula that states or regions must work within to establish their final regulations. The list of options below is a result of that process, and as a result, New York’s DEC unfairly winds up taking the brunt of anger and frustration from stakeholders, when it should be directed at the federal level. The real solution in the case of sea bass lies in creating flexibility in Magnuson Stevens, a process that is currently underway. If and when change comes, it will come from the highest levels of federal government.

Due to the heavily anticipated turnout, the meeting will take place at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS), SUNY Stony Brook, in Endeavor Hall, Room 120.

Input gathered at this meeting will be considered by NYDEC Marine Resources and New York’s Marine Resource Advisory Council when setting regulations for 2018 from the following list of potential options.

Option 1
3 fish, July 3 – Aug 31
5 fish, Sept 1 – Dec 31

Option 2
2 fish, June 19 – Aug 31
5 fish, Sept 1 – Dec 31

Option 3
3 fish, July 4 – Aug 31
5 fish, Sept 1 – Oct 31
7 fish, Nov 1 – Dec 27

Option 4
2 fish, June 21 – Aug 31
5 fish, Sept 1 – Oct 31
7 fish, Nov 1 – Dec 31

Option 5
2 fish, June 22 – Aug 31
6 fish, Sept 1 – Dec 31

Option 6
3 fish, *June 19 – Aug 31
5 fish, Sept 1 – Dec 31
*with 2 week summer closure

Option 7
2 fish, *June 5 – Aug 31
5 fish, Sept 1 – Dec 31
*with 2 week summer closure

Directions to SoMAS: Long Island Expressway (LIE, I-495) to exit 62 (Nicolls Road/County Route 97). North on Nicolls Road for about 9 miles, crossing Route 347 to 2nd traffic light north of 347. Make a left at light (South Entrance) onto South Drive. At the next light, make a right turn onto Marburger Drive. Less than 500′ turn right into Marine Sciences entrance, and immediately bear right. Follow the road to the School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences and Endeavour Hall.

For more information on this meeting, contact 631-444-0430 or [email protected].