December 28, 2011
Letter to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin.
December 28, 2011
Dr. Jane Lubchenco
Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrator
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20230
Dear Dr. Lubchenco,
The Long Island Association, which is the leading business organization of the region, urges you to reconsider the recent tightening of total fluke catch limits. It is astonishing and disheartening that the fluke population has been found to be 100% rebuilt, however, recalculations by federal fisheries regulations are forcing a reduction that some have speculated to be as much as 24% in the total quota for 2012. For New York's commercial fishing sector, the impact would be the largest and the most devastating.
The fishing industry is a significant part of Long Island's economy and heritage. While it is imperative to protect the marine environment, it must be done in a sensible and fair manner. Federal regulations are hamstringing our commercial fishermen and stunting our already struggling local economy. In addition to reassessing the total catch limits, the Long Island Association is also requesting that New York receive a greater (and more equitable) share of federal fluke quotas for both the commercial and the recreational fishermen.
As you know, fish do not recognize state borders. Yet even though the most vigorous fisheries are in the waters off of New York, our commercial fishermen currently receive only 8% of the total federal fluke limit while states such as North Carolina and Virginia have been allocated more than 20%. This imbalance drives fishermen to neighboring states or causes them to shut down business completely. It is a disadvantage that has already damaged the fishing industry on Long Island and even stricter federal mandates would be a body blow in what are already extremely difficult times.
I appreciate your consideration. The appropriate readjustment of federal rules would be a welcome and deserved relief to Long Island's commercial and recreational fluke fishermen and a sorely needed tonic for the economy. If I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to call me at (631) 493-3001. Thank you.
Kevin S. Law
President and CEO
Long Island Association