Sen. Charles Schumer Monday fired another salvo in the battle against New York's disproportionately small share of the federal fluke fishery with proposed legislation that he said would "end the unfairness."
Surrounded by boat captains and advocates at the Captree State Park fishing dock, Schumer vowed to push a bill through Congress that would do away with what he said was the faulty data and uneven quota system on which New York's small share is based. And he said he would use his connections and clout in Congress to see to it.
"I've got a lot of friends in the Senate, I've got a lot of clout in the Senate," he said. "I will use it."
The so-called Fluke Fairness Act would require that federal fisheries managers use up-to-date research and data to set quotas, which now limit New York's share of the commercial fishery to 7.6 percent of the federal allotment. States such as North Carolina and Virginia get more than 20 percent. Out-of-state boats fishing in New York-area waters can sometimes take thousands of pounds of fluke, but must steam to home ports to unload their catch.
Regulators recently shut down the commercial fluke fishery in New York because this year's quota was met. Other states that haven't met their larger quota fish through the fall.
"This has been an incredible injustice," said Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, which supports Schumer's proposal.