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April 08, 2011 - Field Notes

Noteworthy News from the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources

Laws and Rule-making

  • New Law Suspends the Recreational Marine Fishing License.
    Pursuant to legislation signed by Governor Cuomo on March 31, a recreational marine fishing license is no longer required to fish in the marine district of New York, including fishing for migratory fish from the sea (e.g. striped bass) on the Hudson River below the Troy Dam. The new law implements a no-fee registry to take effect, which will be implemented by DEC in early June. Further details regarding this change can be found in the DEC press release. Additional information will be added to Recreational Marine Fishing License suspension announcement page shortly to answer frequently asked questions.
    baitfish in a net
    ~Photo courtesy of J.F. Griffin Publishing~
  • Proposal to Change Baitfish Regulations: DEC Accepting Public Comments.
    The DEC has announced proposed changes to current state regulations that ban the overland transport of uncertified baitfish, including baitfish that is personally collected. If the proposed revisions are adopted, the overland transport of personally collected baitfish within three specified transportation corridors would be allowed, as long as the baitfish are used in the same waterbody from which they were collected. Details of the transportation corridors and more information pertaining to the proposed modifications may be viewed on the Baitfish Transport Proposed Regulations webpage. Anglers and other interested parties are invited to provide comments on the proposed rule-making during the 45-day public comment period that began April 6, 2011 and will end on May 23, 2011. Comments may be e-mailed to fishregs@gw.dec.state.ny.us or mailed to Shaun Keeler, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753.

Significant Notes

  • Volunteers Needed for Annual Horseshoe Crab Survey.
    Volunteers in Long Island and New York City are needed to help conduct horseshoe crab spawning surveys this May and June. Horseshoe crabs are harvested for bait for a number of fisheries, and their eggs are an important food source for shorebirds and marine fish. The horseshoe crab spawning survey is being conducted to track the relative abundance of horseshoe crabs in New York waters. Information about the spawning survey and how to volunteer can be found at http://www.nyhorseshoecrab.org/ (link leaves DEC website) on Cornell's Cooperative Extension website. Also visit DEC's Horseshoe Crab webpage to learn some interesting facts and information about this prehistoric creature!
    woodcock in tall grass
    ~Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service~
  • Return of the Woodcock!
    If you live near a wet, old field, chances are that you may have heard some unusual bird calls at dusk. American woodcock, which are one of the oddest-looking breeding birds found throughout New York State, return to breeding grounds in March and begin mating ritual calls that continue into May. The calls include a "peent," a sort of buzzy, beeping sound made when the birds are on the ground, and a high-pitched, bubbly chirping sound made during an aerial courtship display overhead. DEC staff and cooperators will be conducting surveys to record the number of woodcock heard along more than 70 designated roadside routes throughout the state in late April to early May. Results of the surveys are used to monitor woodcock populations across North America. Recent trends have shown stable populations in the northeast despite long-term declines in woodcock populations from their preferred open habitats developing into forests. Get more information about these interesting migratory game birds. Also, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website (link leaves DEC website) to listen to recordings of their mating calls, and identify whether the unusual noises you've been hearing in your area is the woodcock!
  • 2010 Deer and Bear Harvest Numbers.
    Review the DEC press releases to obtain information on the 2010 Deer Harvest and the 2010 Bear Harvest. Hunters play a pivotal role in big game management through reporting their deer and bear harvests each year. The harvest information is used to assist DEC biologists in managing big game populations and establish future hunting regulations to assure big game management in New York State is at a level that is ecologically and socially appropriate.
  • Newest Monthly Highlights Available.
    Read about the latest research activities and outreach programs conducted by our Division in the most recent issue of our Monthly Highlights (PDF, 500 kb). In February's issue read about multiple efforts to ensure the movement of fish through natural and man-made barriers, a report on 2010 hunter safety, research on moose and coyote populations, discovery of new rare animals and plants, outreach to educate children on our aquatic resources, and much more!
  • Commercial Fishery Trip Limit Changes for Spiny Dogfish and Fluke.
    The following changes have been made to the commercial fishery trip limits:
    • Effective, April 1, 2011, the daily trip limit for summer flounder has increased from a 70 pound limit to a 210 pound limit. This will remain in effect until further notice.
    • Effective April 6, 2011, the spiny dogfish fishery is closed for both state and federal permit holders. This closure will remain in effect through April 30, 2011.

View additional commercial fishing limits online. For questions or concerns, contact the Bureau of Marine Resources at 631-444-5621 or send an e-mail.

Upcoming Public Meetings

  • April 11 -- Conservation Fund Advisory Board Meeting.
    The next Conservation Fund Advisory Board (CFAB) will be held on April 11, 2011 at DEC's Central Office. For more details on CFAB and to find board member contact information, visit the Conservation Fund Advisory Board webpage. Previous monthly meeting minutes, annual reports, and correspondence letters can also be viewed there.
  • April 29 -- Fish and Wildlife Management Board Meeting.
    The next Fish and Wildlife Management Board (FWMB) meeting will be held on April 29, 2011 at DEC's Region 7 Syracuse Office from 10 am to 3 pm. The FWMB meets twice a year to discuss issues pertaining to the preservation and development of fish and wildlife resources on privately-owned lands and waters, and to improve public recreational access to these resources. To learn more about FWMB and its board members, visit the Fish and Wildlife Management Board webpage.

Public Events

  • Free Fishing Clinics Kick Off This Weekend!
    Get the kids and family outside and learn some new fishing skills offered by DEC's I FISH NY program at their 2011 Free Fishing Clinic Events. Learn about fishing equipment, fishing techniques, New York's fish species and the habitat they live in, and how DEC manages fish populations. All of these events are free and no fishing license is required to participate. Take a look at the schedule and find out who to contact for an event near you!

Awards and Acknowledgements

  • Wildlife Bureau Chief Honored by North Instructors Association.
    On March 26, 2011, DEC's Wildlife Bureau Chief, Gordon Batcheller was the honored guest at a dinner in Rochester, sponsored by the Regional North Instructors Association (RENIA) in Region 8; an organization of sportsmen education instructors based in the northern counties of Region 8. Gordon was honored to recognize his past and continuing contributions and achievements for our natural resources and the sportsman and women of New York. In particular, he was cited for his role in research to understand contaminants in the common goldeneye waterbird from the Niagara River; efforts to improve and sustain hunting and trapping in New York; and strong support for hunter and trapper training instructors. Congratulations!
  • March Centennial Conservation Innovation Awards.
    Several staff have been awarded the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Conservation Innovation Award for the month of March. This award celebrates and recognizes employees for their innovative delivery of our fish, wildlife and marine resources conservation programs and their commitment to move our conservation programs forward. To view award recipients and their pioneering accomplishments, visit the Conservation Innovation Award webpage.

Upcoming Recreational Sporting Season Reminders

A complete list of sporting season dates can be found by following the appropriate links:

Furbearer Trapping

-- April 15, 2011 --

  • Final Day for Mink and Muskrat Trapping in Northern areas of New York. All areas of the state are now closed.

Waterfowl Hunting

-- April 15, 2011 --

  • Final Day for Late Spring Snow Goose Hunting in all Upstate Areas. All areas of the state are now closed.

Saltwater Fishing

-- April 15, 2011 --

  • Striped Bass Fishing Opens for the Marine and Coastal District. To view catch and size limits, visit the Saltwater Fishing Seasons webpage.

Youth Turkey Hunt

-- April 23 - 24, 2011 --

  • Youth Turkey Hunt Weekend! The youth turkey hunt is also now available in Long Island's Wildlife Management Unit 1C this year! More details on this hunting opportunity for young children ages 12 to 15 can be found on the Youth Turkey Hunt webpage.

Did You Know...?

snapping turtle in grass
~Photo by Susan L Shafer~

The snapping turtle, New York's official state reptile, is one of the largest turtles in North America and has an average lifespan of 30 to 40 years!

Read more facts about the snapping turtle on DEC's Watchable Wildlife site!

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