Cuomo signs bill to protect Menhaden and improve ocean health
New Law Prohibits Commercial Fishing of Menhaden with Industrial Purse Seine Nets to Protect Important Food Source for Sportfish and Whales. Critical Measure will Prevent Overfishing and Improve Health of New York’s Economically Vital Coastal Waters and Commercial Fisheries.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently signed legislation (A2571 Englebright/S2317 Kaminsky) to protect menhaden, a fish whose population recovery has been instrumental in restoring striped bass, whales, dolphins, bluefish, coastal sharks, predatory fish, seals, and seabirds, among other species to New York’s waters. The measure will strengthen conservation efforts to protect this vital bait fish by prohibiting the commercial use of an industrial net, known as purse seines, that can encircle an entire school of fish.
“New York has made significant investments to improve our habitat, clean up sources of harmful pollution, and restore a healthy diversity of life to our waters,” Governor Cuomo said. “This critical new law will help us further protect a vital fishery that supports species important to our sportfishing economy, as well as the majestic whales and other marine life that are once again returning to our state’s coastal waters.”
The measure signed today prohibits the taking of menhaden with the use of purse seines, fishing nets as large as six city blocks, held down by weights at the bottom and buoyed by floats at the top edge that draw closed around the fish. An important commercial baitfish, menhaden are also harvested for production of fish oil, fertilizer, and fishmeal. Prohibiting the use of purse seines in New York’s waters supports our fishermen, who use more sustainable taking methods, and increases their ability to access menhaden, also known as bunker.