Commercial fishermen this week scoffed at a long-awaited report on an investigation of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, saying the report was a hollow failure by State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott’s office to hold the DEC accountable for “institutionalized violations of fishermen’s basic rights for decades,” said an attorney who has represented several fishermen from East Hampton and Hampton Bays.
Fishermen and local lawmakers who gathered at fishing dock in Hampton Bays last Friday said that the report on the investigation, which began more than three years ago, appeared to have been held back by the state investigators while the DEC was allowed to retool and “correct” some of the bad practices.
“The Inspector General has issued a report that is not worth the paper it is written on—it’s a complete and total waste of taxpayer dollars,” said Southampton attorney Daniel Rodgers, who has represented fishermen in criminal cases with DEC. “If you read the report, the primary focus is the DEC’s failure to properly collect the data they received from fishermen. But the IG’s response is … they lost a great opportunity to catch more fishermen cheating. In other words, the IG was never out do their job either.”
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