The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has assumed the role of "employer" of those who make their livelihoods from the harvest of local wild seafood stocks when their true legal status is that of "fisheries management" ["Fisherman's nephew rejected as heir," News, June 29].
This has been clearly shown in the DEC's policy of limiting the transfer upon death of limited-entry private state fishing licenses to those who, under state rules, enjoy employee benefits. The DEC has refused to allow the transfer of the licenses of lifelong East End fisherman Stian Stiansen to his nephew because he did "not share the same domicile" with his uncle. Under what other circumstances can the state determine who can be an heir?
What is lacking in the reporting of this story is the fact that the DEC imposes no such limitations on the holders of corporate fishing licenses. They are free to sell them to the highest bidder -- which typically is well over $50,000 for what Stiansen held.
When I asked a DEC official why it is that we private license holders cannot sell ours, she said it's because corporations are "entities." I was shocked. I am seriously considering changing what I enter on my daily fishing reports for my small outboard boat in the box vessel name to "nonentity."
Charles Tekula, Center Moriches