Government: DEC To Host Meeting on Fishing Licensing, Crackdown on Illegal Signs

Commercial fishing boats near Shinnecock Inlet.

DEC to Host Meetings on Fishing Licensing

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will host a series of meetings in July and August to gather feedback from stakeholders about the state’s current commercial fishing licensing system and ways it can be improved.

Locally, meetings will be held on Thursday, August 2, at 6 p.m. at Southampton Town Hall in Southampton, and on Tuesday, August 21, at 6 p.m. at the Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center in Southold.

Last year, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and State Senator Ken LaValle blocked the DEC from continuing the current commercial fishing licensing system for another three years, agreeing to a one-year extension provided DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos agreed to come to Long Island last fall and meet with members of the fishing community.

According to Mr. Thiele and Mr. LaValle, at the meeting the industry unanimously supported the state challenging federal fishing quotes and called on the DEC to reform the commercial fishing licensing system to improve access and transferability of licenses. According to Mr. Thiele and Mr. LaValle, Commissioner Seggos promised action.

“I am pleased to see that the DEC is keeping its promise to support a vital Long Island industry that is getting choked out by poor regulation,” said Mr. Thiele this week. “Commercial fishermen have long suffered from unfair and inequitable quotas arbitrarily set by the federal government based on faulty
data. Additionally, the current regulations related to the transfer of permits and licenses have thwarted the proper operation of this industry.”
“We must resolve these issues with our fishing community at the table in full participation. The economic survival of our commercial fishermen must be our ultimate priority,” said Mr. LaValle.  “I, too, applaud the DEC’s efforts to fight for fair and equitable quotas and will continue my efforts to protect this vital industry,” said Senator LaValle.

In March, the DEC retained the services of marine fisheries consultant George LaPointe, who will facilitate the meetings. A former Commissioner of the Maine Department of Natural Resources, Mr. LaPointe will analyze and evaluate the current marine commercial licensing system and provide
recommendations on how to improve and revise it. The topics to be addressed include, specifying qualifications for license issuance; license transferability; identifying means of entry for new participants in New York’s fisheries; apprenticeship; and resolution of the latent licenses issue.

Crackdown on Illegal Signs

Southampton Town Code Enforcement officials this week announced it has begun removing what it says are more than 100 illegal roadside signs on the town’s right-of-way, within 10 feet of the road, along Montauk Highway between Southampton and Bridgehampton.

According to a press release issued by the town, Supervisor Jay Schneiderman called for the sign’s removal, calling them “visual pollution.”

“We have devoted so much effort to preserve our natural beauty we are not going to let it be marred by illegal advertising on our roadways from companies looking to make a fast buck,” said Supervisor Schneiderman.

“Most of the signs were lawn signs but they have been showing up in large number in recent weeks causing visual pollution and a distraction to drivers, “said Steven Troyd, Town Code Compliance and Emergency Management Administrator. Violations can be charged with four different violations of the town code for erecting the largely disposable signs in the town’s right-of-way. Often the signs advertise local business specials or special events.

“The Town’s efforts will continue and those responsible for the visual pollution will be held accountable,” said Supervisor Schneiderman.