Bill to Establish the Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Protection Area Signed Into Law

Monica R. Martinez

December 17, 2019

ALBANY, NY—NYS Senator Monica R. Martinez sponsored bill (S.5871/A.6520) to recognize the importance of the marine mammals and sea turtles around Plum Island, Great Gull Island and Little Gull Island has been signed into law. This legislation, sponsored by NYS Senator Monica R. Martinez and Assemblyman Steve Englebright, will further recognize the importance of, and provide additional protections to, the diverse and important marine mammal and sea turtle species and designated as a New York State bird conservation area.

“I am proud to have sponsored this legislation, and I am hopeful that this will provide important habitat for marine mammals and sea turtles as well as plants. Turtles and marine mammals are increasingly encountering eroded habitats,” said NYS Senator Monica R. Martinez. “Plum Island, Great Gull Island, and Little Gull Island are isolated from the mainland and this area is of unique physical and biological character. Turtles lay their eggs on land so that’s why this habitat, which is a known breeding ground is so important. I want to thank Assemblyman Steve Englebright for his support to bring this important issue to light.”

“The new Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Protection Area law will bring recognition and protection to the important habitat for marine mammals, sea turtles and many other animals in the waters around Plum, Great Gull, and Little Gull Islands which lie offshore of Long Island’s north fork. This assemblage of islands and their surrounding waters underpin a rich and biologically unique part of our state and this new act will highlight and protect the important marine mammal and sea turtle species populations that thrive there. I thank the Governor for his commitment to the protection of New York’s unique natural areas and the diversity of species that exist in those special areas.”

For more information and important resources for sea turtles and marine mammals can be found at There are four species of sea turtles that can be found in New York waters. Those sea turtles are either threatened or endangered at the state level and federally protected under the U.S Endangered Species Act. In New York, all species are protected by Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) and the New York Code of Rules and Regulations, which protects the individual animals and their habitats.