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Soon-to-be vacated seat on fisheries council should be held by a New Yorker, lawmakers say

Anthony DiLernia will vacate his seat on the

Anthony DiLernia will vacate his seat on the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Credit: Barry Sloan

A seat on an interstate fisheries council that manages fish allocations among mid-Atlantic states will be vacated this summer, and top New York lawmakers are urging the federal government to keep a New Yorker in the post, Newsday has learned.

In a May 7 letter, Sen. Chuck Schumer told Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo it was "crucial" that she appoint a New Yorker to soon-to-be vacated seat on the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. The at-large seat is currently occupied by veteran sports fisherman and longtime council member Anthony DiLernia, whose term expires in August. Schumer, the Senate majority leader, said keeping a New Yorker in that seat is important because of "historically inequitable [council] rulings based on flawed science that have disproportionately harmed New York."

New York, for instance, receives only around 7% of the Atlantic states’ quota for fluke, while states such as North Carolina and Virginia combined have roughly half, although the fish have increasingly migrated more into New York waters.

DiLernia, who has served 20 years on the council, said New York "needs every vote we can get" on the council, because other states have been increasingly unwilling to share quota with New York.

Schumer in his letter noted that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has nominated three New Yorkers, all from Long Island, to replace DiLernia. They are Fred Golofaro, of Islip, the senior editor/director of editorial for The Fisherman magazine; Tom Schlichter, a Southold-based outdoorsman, author and Newsday freelancer; and Brian Culhane, a Sayville-based former state Senate staffer who is now a contracted field technician for the state Department of Environmental Conservation and has served on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

"If New York loses a seat on the MAFMC, I fear that there will be insufficient votes in the council to correct past injustices and continue to push for fairer fishing allocations for New York fishermen," Schumer wrote.

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