The governor has signed legislation (S. 3232-A) that would boost sport fishing as an important part of New York's tourism economy. Seward sponsored the measure with Sen. James Wright (R-Watertown). The bill was a legislative priority of the Conservation Alliance of New York (CANY).
"New York State has tremendous water resources -- lakes, streams, brooks and creeks -- set in beautiful, picturesque landscapes. Our lakes, historic trout streams and ponds have abundant gamefish, and the legislation signed by the governor will promote fishing as an outdoor pastime for all ages, and that’s a bonus for tourism all across our state," Seward said. "The governor is to be commended -- his signature on the bill further cements his positive, pro-outdoors legacy."
The legislation requires the commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation to develop a fishing promotion program in the state. Elements of the plan would include:
1) Educational fishing clinics;
2) Public outreach, fishing festivals and strategic use of free fishing days;
3) Disseminating information about public fishing locations;
4) A "green stamp" book for youths and teachers to collect stamps for each fishing experience, with instructors receiving free fishing licenses and students receiving patches to honor their achievements;
5) An "I Love NY" fishing promotion program to boost fishing as an element of increased tourism.
Fishing in New York is estimated to generate more than $2.5 billion in economic activity. Expenditures support 43,000 jobs and generate $100 million in state sales taxes and $32 million in state income taxes. Localities benefit from local sales taxes as well. New York is ranked among the top five fishing destinations in America, and is known globally for its storied trout fishing destinations in the Catskills and Adirondacks.
"Our goal is to encourage more fishing, encourage youngsters to fish, and to boost the state’s recreational fishing opportunities as a key component of tourism and economic development," Seward said.
The bill was sponsored in the assembly by Assemblyman Morelle, whom Seward praised for his partnership and effort in his house.