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Friday, January 15, 2010

New York Closes Black Sea Bass Fishery

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Following Federal Action, New York Closes Recreational Black Sea Bass Fishery

Feds Limit Fishing to June, September Only

In response to a federal action, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has immediately closed recreational fishing for black sea bass with the exception of a 2-month window, Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today.

The emergency, temporary closure follows actions by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission to strictly limit harvesting of the species and to limit the 2010 season to only two months: June and September. New York State is a participating member state to the Mid-Atlantic Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).

Preliminary data from the 2009 federal recreational fishing survey indicated that Atlantic coastal states harvested well in excess of the black sea bass limit for the year. On Oct. 5, 2009, NOAA closed recreational fishing for black sea bass in federal waters for 180 days, a ban that could be extended an additional 180 days. In December, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and ASMFC voted to require states to shut down the recreational black sea bass fishery in states' waters and impose the two-month season.

"New York has little choice but to severely limit black sea bass fishing in state waters at this time," Commissioner Grannis said. "If we don't, the state could face stiff sanctions, which could include the complete closure of its recreational and commercial black sea bass fisheries for all of 2010."

Commissioner Grannis, however, noted that last week ASMFC recommended increasing the black sea bass quota for 2010, which could result in extending the season beyond the current two-month limit. Should NOAA accept the recommendation, the commissioner said it is likely there will be favorable changes to the fishing season in New York.