A crowd gathers in Patchogue in opposition to the new black sea bass quota.

Decry Black Sea Bass Quota

At a podium on the dock, US Congressman Lee Zeldin Sunday faced a crowd ready to take a stand.

Joined by Assemblyman Dean Murray, small business owners, local fishermen, and other stakeholders at Mascot Dock and Marina in Patchogue, he called for the State of New York to take an aggressive stand against an unfair decision by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission for black sea bass allocation, which would cut New York’s quota by 12 percent (even though the black sea bass stock has rebounded and is currently 240 percent above target biomass), while increasing that of neighboring states.

By issuing its own set of regulations for black sea bass fishing this season and entering into non-compliance, the state can take a stand against the unfair and inequitable decision of the ASMFC that will further hurt New York’s already struggling anglers, according to Zeldin.

“Going into non-compliance is never the first option, but it may be the only one in taking a stand for New York anglers who year after year continue to get screwed,” Congressman Zeldin said.

“With the vast majority of Long Island fishing taking place in waters shared with New Jersey and Connecticut, such as the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound, it is unfair that New York anglers are, once again, being penalized with smaller fishing quotas than neighboring states. Two boats fishing next to each other, with one allowed to catch up to double the amount of the other because they are landing the fish in New Jersey instead of New York, is ridiculous and inequitable.

“Tri-state parity is so important, and New York needs to take an immediate stand against the unfair black sea bass allocation and set its own fair and equitable quota and going into what is formally known as ‘non-compliance’,” concluded Zeldin. “For my constituents, who are both fishermen and small business owners trying to attract customers, cutting New York off from its fair share while allowing New Jersey’s allocation to grow, is unacceptable.”

State Assemblyman Dean Murray said, “It’s time that we join together (regardless of party affiliation) to fight back against unfair restrictions and over-regulation of Long Island’s fishing industry. I’m proud to stand with US Congressman Lee Zeldin and those in the fishing community to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo and others to join the fight in pushing back against what we believe is an unfair and uncalled for reduction in the black sea bass limits.”