Latest Closing of Fluke Fishery is the Last Straw.
Long Island, NY - July 12, 2018 - Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle today called upon New York State to keep its promise to the state’s commercial fishermen and bring litigation immediately to strike down the inequitable and discriminatory fluke quotas that are crippling the economic viability of the state’s commercial industry.
This week, the State Department of Conservation announced that the fluke fishery would be closed in state waters until the end of the month and would then re-open with a paltry harvest limit of 50 pounds per day.
In 2013, Governor Cuomo visited Montauk and promised to sue the federal government over the state’s low share of the East Coast fluke fishery. That promise was reiterated again by the Governor in late 2017. This spring, instead of bringing litigation, the state filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce protesting the quota. There has been no reported response from the federal government.
Thiele stated, “These state by state quotas created by the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, are based upon faulty and incomplete collection data, which discriminate against commercial fishermen in the State of New York. As a result of these discriminatory practices, New York’s quota for a number of species of black sea bass, bluefish, scup, and fluke are much lower than would be allocated under a fair non-discriminatory system. New York's summer flounder quota was less than half of that allocated to Rhode Island, New Jersey, Virginia, and North Carolina. This discriminatory quota system has resulted in unwarranted economic and job losses. New York has promised to protect our fishing industry. That promise must be kept.”
Senator LaValle said, “Our commercial fishing industry is an essential element in the fabric of the East End. It is way past time that New York State steps up to support our local fishermen by immediately filing suit to obtain equitable quotas. We need the Governor and the Attorney General to file the lawsuits immediately. Too many of our fishing families are being harmed by the discriminatory quotas. This needs to stop now. Assemblyman Thiele and I will continue to fight for the industry in every manner possible.”
On January 20th of this year, Thiele and LaValle introduced A.2514 and S.3197 directing the State Attorney General to bring any and all legal actions against the National Marine Fisheries Services or any other federal or interstate agency challenging existing inequitable fishing quotas that discriminate against New York State commercial fishermen. No legislative action was taken because of the commitment from the executive branch to bring litigation. Thiele and LaValle will reintroduce the bill again in 2019 and pursue its passage, if no action is taken.