Legislation co-sponsored by Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (S.2317) which prohibits taking a species of fish known as the Atlantic Menhaden from district waters using a purse seine, was signed into law on April 18th.
“Atlantic Menhaden have fallen victim to overfishing in the waters of the Rockaways,” Addabbo said. “We have seen a strong comeback of Menhaden in the waters off the Rockaways and Broad Channel in recent years thanks to the efforts of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and this new environmental conservation law will only continue that progress and provide sustainable management of this keystone species.”
Menhaden fish are popular for seine fishing because they are used for fishmeal and fish-oil based products and local anglers use them as bait to catch larger fish that they can eat or sell. They are also a major food source for whales, dolphins and other large marine life. A single humpback whale can eat thousands of pounds of Menhaden per day. These small fish are referred to as one of the most important species in the ocean. Seine fishing involves using a large fishing net, called a seine, cast off the side of large commercial fishing boats to collect fish.
“Last year when the bill failed to reach the Senate floor for a vote, I pledged to get it passed in 2019 ensuring that local fishermen and wildlife would not be negatively impacted by overfishing,” said Addabbo. “This is such great news for coastal areas within the district where Menhaden have been returning to our coastal waters in historic numbers. The replenished food source is also bringing whales and dolphins back to New York’s coast, positively contributing to the tourism industry,” Addabbo said.
“The Jamaica bay Ecowatcher’s commend Senator Addabbo for this critical piece of legislation. The waters of Jamaica Bay and the New York Bight are finally seeing the results of years of hard work in restoring the water quality and habitat of this area,” said Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers. “This has led to a remarkable increase in the presence of whales, dolphins and seals all who feed on the Menhaden fish. Menhaden has been recognized as the most critical species of fish for this very reason and the vacuum ships that seek them out do irreparable harm to the ecosystem. It is great to see that they will finally be banned from New York waters.”
The Governor signed the legislation into law on April 18, 2019 and shall take effect immediately.