The nephew of a legendary Long Island commercial fisherman who died in a boating accident in May has been rejected as the heir to his uncle's valuable fishing permits because, the state said, he didn't live in his uncle's house.
Norman Stiansen, a commercial fisherman who learned the trade from his uncle, Stian Stiansen, received a letter recently from New York State telling him he cannot inherit the family licenses for striped bass, fluke, crabs, lobster and conch because he does "not share the same domicile" as his uncle.
Stian Stiansen, who fished Long Island waters commercially for most of his 85 years, died after his boat, the Pauline IV, was capsized by a rogue wave in May.
The May 28 Department of Environmental Conservation letter to Stiansen states, "It is unfortunate that the Department cannot approve your request for license reissuance, and we extend our deepest sympathies for your loss."
Stian Stiansen in forms filed with the state DEC in March designated his nephew as heir to his fishing permits. State law allows fishermen to leave their permits to designated family members in the event of their death.
Norman Stiansen lives in Hampton Bays. Stian Stiansen lived in East Quogue.
"It's a shame because this is what Long Island is about, the farming, the fishing the hardworking community," Norman Stiansen said. "You would think they [the DEC] would want to promote that."
A DEC spokeswoman didn't return a message seeking comment.
Norman Stiansen said that while he has his own permits to fish, he was hoping his uncle's could be transferred to his son, Peter Stiansen, who currently fishes with his father.
Norman Stiansen had been left the Pauline IV in his uncle's will, but the boat was destroyed after it capsized.
Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, said if the state had problems with the address of Norman Stiansen, it should have alerted him at the time Stian Stiansen designated his heir.
"Whether intentional or not it does seem like the goal is to decrease the amount of permits," she said. "Why did they wait for Stian to die before they objected to the predesignation form he filled out months ago?"