Rep. Zeldin Meets With East End Fishermen to Discuss Necessary Reform
Mattituck, NY - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) visited Mattituck today to meet with local fishermen from the East End to discuss the dire need for reforms to improve Long Island’s fishing economy, including fundamentally improving restrictions on catch limits, allocations, and quotas at the state and federal level. An integral part of this is the need to fundamentally reform the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act or MSA), which is the primary law that governs recreational and commercial fishing in the United States. Congressman Zeldin discussed with local fishermen their legislative priorities and the critical importance of reauthorizing and amending the MSA to help Long Island’s struggling coastal economy.
Of serious concern for many local fishermen has been the recent closure of important fisheries like fluke, which has been closed for the month of September, and black sea bass, which was subject to closures earlier this summer. Local anglers rely upon these fisheries to keep their businesses afloat. In the case of fluke, New York’s low allocation and the NYDEC’s closure of that commercial fishery for the month of September are symptoms of the overarching problem of old data, questionable fisheries science, a deeply flawed appeals process, and the state of New York continually losing out to other states when regional bodies allocate fishing quotas. Congressman Zeldin and local fishermen discussed the critical need for bipartisan leadership and cooperation at all levels of government to drastically improve the way these regulatory decisions that impact Long Island’s coastal economy are made.
Congressman Zeldin said, “So much of our economy and way of life are connected to the water around us here on Long Island. It was a privilege to meet with these hard working fishermen today to discuss so many of the challenges that must be addressed. The current management of our fisheries has created a web of unnecessary restrictions on our local anglers. These flaws are raising costs for commercial fishermen and charter boat captains, as well as all the small businesses that depend upon the coastal economy. There is so much that can be done to reinvigorate fishing, which is such a cherished part of our heritage here on Long Island. I have long worked hard to get various victories across the finish line for our fishermen, and I look forward to continuing to do so as the Representative of this island community. Tens of thousands of residents on Long Island and in surrounding areas depend upon these unique resources, and we must do more to protect this vital industry.”
Representing a district almost entirely surrounded by salt water, fighting for Long Island’s fishermen and coastal economy has been a top priority for Congressman Zeldin since taking office. This Congress, Rep. Zeldin also reintroduced the Local Fishing Access Act (H.R. 1195), legislation which passed the House in the 114th Congress with a bipartisan, unanimous vote. This bill will provide Long Island fishermen with relief from confusing and burdensome regulations, by reforming the federal law that bans striped bass fishing in the Block Island transit zone, which are federal waters between Montauk, New York, and Block Island, Rhode Island.