Written by Leslie Taylor
Just one day after the State Department of Environmental Conservation took back a controversial quota on porgies, the Suffolk County Legislature agreed to consider legal action on behalf of the commercial fishing industry.
According to Legislator Jay Schneiderman, the way the National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS, and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission determine New York State’s fishing quotas is a “discriminatory practice” and must change to put New York’s fisheries on equal footing with neighboring states.
“New York fisheries fish in the same waters as Connecticut and New Jersey, yet they take out far less per boat than other areas,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “An equalized quota or allocation won’t mean more fish get taken out—they’d be distributed evenly. Other areas will go down and we’ll go up, but that is what is fair.”
Quotas for New York are determined by the “box method,” where the number of fish caught in one season—upon which the following season’s quota is based—is estimated based on how many boxes of fish, usually summer flounder, there are. Other species like porgy, sea bass and bluefish are also counted this way, according to Emerson Hasbrouck of Cornell University Cooperative Extension.
Instead of using the “weigh-out” system, like other states, to get a more accurate count, New York fisheries seem to be at a disadvantage, Mr. Hasbrouck said.
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