Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Local Fisherman Disagree with New State Regs



Video: Wall Street Journal, "Long Island Fisherman vs. the State of New York"


According to the Wall Street Journal, the Towns of Southampton, East Hampton and Shelter Island are suing New York State's Department of Environmental Control (DEC) for its new fishing regulations because the State forgot to ask the Town's permission. Interestingly, Andrew Cuomo, NYS Attorney General, is not coming to the DEC's defense. And, local fisherman and town trustees are fighting for their rights -- recreational and commercial fisherman alike -- based on a Colonial Law, the Dongan Patent which says that Towns have jurisdiction over the fishing (and not the State or Federal Governments).


Long Island Fishing License Comes with A Colonial Catch
, Wall St. Journal, 11/10/09

"In 1686, the British governor of the royal colony of New York, Thomas Dongan, granted the patent, a kind of town charter, putting responsibility for public land and waterways in several East End towns in the hands of locally elected trustees. The New York state constitution preserved that contract in 1777, amid the War for Independence from Britain. That means, according to the current trustees, the state has no authority to impose regulation on town property, which includes the bottom of town inlets and bays."

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The DEC will be back in court on November 19. The big issue for Cuomo it seem is more about process and less about the license itself. He's asking for more time so the DEC gets it right (perhaps the DEC should talk to the fisherman and see what makes sense).

Given the fragile nature of the ocean waters around New York, and risk of overfishing, some kind of regulations and licensing sounds like good business to me SO LONG AS RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN ARE PART OF THE DEBATE and regs are not being put together slapdash which is apparently what most of the upset is all about.

Check out the 26-page regulations manual published by the DEC New York Recreational Marine Fishing Regulations Guide 2009-2010 that went into effect on October 1, 2009. Only New York State Residents need apply. If you are under 16, legally blind, serve in the armed forces, or live on an Indian Reservation, you are exempt. The manual includes information on minimum catch sizes, what is legal and not legal to catch (some sharks), cleaning and cooking tips.

NOTE TO DEC: Please don't make it too hard for children and their parents to enjoy surf casting on the Atlantic. And, don't leave out the undocumented people who live on Long Island many of whom rely on the fruit of the sea for dinner.

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