December 28, 2011
Letter to Joe Martens, New York State DEC
December 28, 2011
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Albany, NY 12233
Dear Commissioner Martens,
The Long Island Association, which is the leading business organization of the region, urges the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to reduce the size limit of fluke to 19 inches in 2012 for the recreational fishing community. This action would serve as a much needed boost to our fishing industry; 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. The 2011 size limit of 20.5 inches damaged the recreational fishing industry on Long Island and deterred even casual angling enthusiasts. This high standard not only hurt the party boats, recreational boaters, and other fishermen but also caused many to simply abandon fluke fishing altogether. In these difficult times, it is critical that the size limit be reduced by 1.5 inches and all other appropriate measures taken to assist our fishermen.
While I hope you carefully consider this proposal for the recreational fishing industry, I was disheartened to learn that commercial fishermen are likely to face a reduction in their allowable fluke quota because of a series of calculations from the federal government. It is astonishing 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, the impact would be the largest and the most devastating.
I know the DEC shares my frustration with the federal regulations that are hamstringing our commercial fishermen and stunting our already struggling local economy. 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. The Long Island Association supports your efforts to modify the nonsensical and unfair federal rules. I will be writing a letter to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) requesting that New York receive a greater (and more equitable) share of federal fluke quotas for the commercial and the recreational fishermen.
I appreciate your consideration. The reduction in the size limit to 19 inches would be a welcome and deserved relief to Long Island's 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