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NY’s 2016 Recreational Black Sea Bass Regulations

NY Black Sea Bass Memo – 2-2016


  • TO: Marine Recreational Fishing Public
  • FROM: John Maniscalco
  • RE: NY’s 2016 Recreational Black Sea Bass Regulations
  • DATE: February 18, 2016

ISSUE: Black sea bass recreational harvest has exceeded 2015 limits in the northern region. New York (along with all states from Massachusetts to New Jersey) is required to develop more restrictive rules governing recreational black sea bass fishing in order to restrain harvest to the 2016 limits. The required reduction is estimated by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to be 23.2%. Preliminary MRIP Wave 6 data became fully available on February 18, 2016.

The purpose of this memo is to provide interested and involved constituents with some idea of what the required reduction could look like in terms of regulatory adjustments so that they can consider the matter and provide the Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR) with feedback.

Compliance with the minimum size limit in 2015 was poor and changes to the minimum size will not be considered for 2016. All options in the table below include a 14.0” minimum size.

As was done last year, interested parties can request additional options by email ( or phone (631-444-0437). All constructive and productive suggestions will be considered to the best of my ability and the limitations of the data. The goal is to generate a list of options that meet the required 23.2% reduction by March 1, 2016 that can be used by both NY’s Marine Resource Advisory Council (MRAC) and the BMR. MRAC is next scheduled to meet on March 22 at 7:00PM at the DEC Offices.

***For additional consideration, a regional option is currently being considered by Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York. Would the NY Public support the following 2016 regional measure? 14.0” minimum size, 3 fish from July 23-August 31 and 5 fish from Sept. 1-Dec. 31

New York State Fluke (Summer Flounder) Allocation

As most saltwater fishermen in New York are aware, New York has been pointing up the disparities and unfairness inherent in the current approach used by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to allocate the coastwide recreational and commercial fluke quotas between its member states. New York’s basic contentions are 1) the allocation formulae and process rely on fluke harvest data from the various states from about 15 years ago that is of very questionable accuracy and 2) the distribution of fluke along the U.S. East Coast has changed markedly since this base period, with the population shifting northward, resulting in fluke being now much more abundant in the more northerly reaches of its historic range, including in the waters off New York.

Through the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the State has sought redress of these inequities in the fluke state allocation process through the deliberations of the ASMFC, of which it is a member. These efforts have been largely fruitless. Attached are letters from Governor Andrew Cuomo and DEC Assistant Commissioner for Natural Resources Kathy Moser, along with a recent press release, that attest to the seriousness with which the State views this matter and its commitment to securing a fairer allocation of fluke to the fishermen of New York.

NOAA Fisheries Report on Damages to New York & New Jersey Commercial and Recreational Fisheries from Super Storm Sandy

The National Marine Fisheries Service has released a report estimating the economic losses to the marine commercial and recreational fisheries sectors in New York and New Jersey from Super Storm Sandy. The findings of the report, along with surveys conducted by both states and New York Sea Grant, will inform the plans developed by the two States to provide disaster relief funding to the fisheries sector. Go here for the NMFS report.

Survey of Marine Damage from Super Storm Sandy

The New York Sea Grant program has been working with the marina industry in New York to compile information on the financial losses to the industry attributable to Super Storm Sandy. This information will feed into State decisions on economic relief programs targeted at losses from this storm. Marine owners/operators are encouraged to participate in this voluntary survey, which is completely confidential. Here are two links about the project:

NYSG Marina Economic Loss Questionnaire

“Super Storm” Sandy Economic Injury Loss Questionnaire / Worksheet

Getting Information on Marine Fishery & Marine Fishery-related Bills & Laws in New York

In New York, management of marine fisheries is the joint responsibility of the New York State Legislature and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The Legislature authorizes DEC to manage certain aspects of our marine fisheries by regulation and retains sole responsibility for other aspects of marine fisheries management. The Legislature can rescind or expand DEC’s regulatory authority and may pass a bill that supersedes any specific regulation. Of course, if the Legislature passes a bill, that bill must still be signed into law by the Governor before it can take effect.

All legislation being considered by the State Legislature (not just in marine fisheries or marine environmental issues, but in all issues of interest to the state) can be accessed through the World Wide Web Sites maintained by the New York State Senate ( and the New York State Assembly ( The text of each bill is available, as is (usually) its legislative history and bill memo, which explains the reason(s) why the bill sponsor(s) think it is a good idea. Either site can be searched by bill number or by keyword (e.g., bluefish or “marine fisheries.”

Also available through the these two web sites is the text of the Laws of New York, including the Environmental Conservation Law and its several articles dealing with marine fisheries and marine resources, generally.

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