Three U.S. lawmakers from New York on Thursday blasted federal fishing regulators for failing to provide adequate notice of the closure of the long-fin squid fishery July 9.
Greenport fisherman Mark Phillips said closure of the long-fin squid fishery with less than a day’s notice cost him $10,000, because he’d loaded up his trawler in preparation for several days at sea, and had to return once notice finally reached him Monday afternoon.
Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) called on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to revamp its notification system to include text messaging and email and increase outreach via radio and fishing industry publications.
NOAA spokeswoman Allison McHale said while weekly quota updates are posted on the agency’s website, “We realize that not all fishermen were aware of how close the ... squid quota was to being reached.”
Schumer said the notice was faxed to a “limited” group in the industry, not including fishermen. NOAA says it appeared on its website on July 6. McHale said that “depending on when fishermen received the information, they may not have had much advance notice.”
Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, noted that fishermen are required to give the National Marine Fisheries Service 72 hours’ advance notice of fishing trips so the agency can determine whether it will require a federal observer on board. “Shouldn’t we expect 72 hours’ notice from them when they close the fishery, when they expect it of us?” she said.
Photo: Sen. Charles Schumer raises the hand of Bonnie Brady, of the Montauk-based Long Island Commercial Fisherman's Association, during a news conference to announce an oversight hearing on fishing regulations that have been controversial in Long Island waters. (June 4, 2012)