Bureau of Marine Resources
What We Do
The Bureau of Marine Resources is responsible for the management of living marine resources and their habitats within the Marine and Coastal District of New York State (take a look at our mission statement).
Our Bureau is divided into three major program areas:
This program monitors and develops management recommendations for the principal finfish and crustacean species of the State. These include striped bass, shad, sturgeon, weakfish, winter flounder, scup, blackfish (tautog), bluefish, fluke, lobster, blue crab, horseshoe crab, and many others. Because nearly all these species migrate up and down the coast and occur in the waters of several states, data collection and management responsibility is shared among states and between the states and federal government. Two of the principal institutions for accomplishing this cooperative management are the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (links to these two agencies can be found in the right hand column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website"). Each of these institutions has representatives from New York State who help make the management decisions. To learn more about the process of fisheries management click on National Marine Fisheries Service - Fisheries Management link under "Links Leaving DEC's Website" in the right hand column.
Program staff also directly sample fish populations through a series of seine surveys and trawl surveys in the western bays and on the southern shores of Long Island, and Peconic bays. The program also conducts a series of surveys of recreational and commercial fisheries to collect data for species management. In addition, the program has ongoing projects which deal with public access to the marine waters and the development of artificial reefs.
The Shellfish Section has two program units: shellfish resource management and shellfish sanitation. The management unit is responsible for the maintenance of the State's bivalve mollusk resource. Management plans are developed and implemented for the harvest of specific shellfish species. The Shellfish program also oversees the shellfish transplant program and mariculture.
Bivalve mollusks are filter feeders and may concentrate bacteria and viruses in their bodies if exposed to these pathogens in contaminated waters. Consequently, the shellfish sanitation program exercises sanitary control of the harvest, handling and processing of shellfish to provide adequate public health protection for the shellfish consumer. Water quality monitoring is conducted in the State's shellfish growing areas. Areas with unacceptable bacteria levels are closed to shellfish harvesting. Shellfish inspectors regularly inspect shellfish processing and wholesale shellfish dealers' facilities to ensure that they are in compliance with federal and state requirements.
On the Shellfishing page you will find links to shellfish harvest areas and limits, shellfish safety and emergency closures and more. To learn about some of the shellfish species (Atlantic bay scallop, surfclam, Eastern oyster and hard clam) found in New York visit the Marine Life page.
This program administers the state's Tidal Wetland Act which involves the review of proposed activities which may impact tidal wetlands. This may include construction of buildings, dredging, and filling activities. This program also administers the State's Protection of Waters and federal Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification permit programs. This typically involves dredging and filling activities (including dredged material disposal) within the wetlands and marine waters of the state. Marine Habitat Protection also provides technical assistance to other regulatory programs like the Oil Spill Unit and Solid and Hazardous Materials to help prevent and correct adverse impacts on the marine environment.
Another important aspect of this program is participation efforts to restore and manage the states estuaries, including the National Estuary program which is carried out in cooperation with other states, local governments and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Estuary management programs are cooperative efforts to assess adverse environmental impacts to estuarine ecosystems and to formulate and implement management plans to restore and enhance estuarine water quality and ecosystem health. Areas included in these management programs are Long Island Sound, Peconic Bays, Hudson River, New York/New Jersey Harbor, and Long Island's south shore bays.
The Marine Habitat Protection program is also responsible for managing and inventorying the State's marine habitats. Ongoing activities include trend analysis of tidal wetland gains and losses since the Tidal Wetland Act was passed in 1974, which is conducted using a computer-based geographic information system; and a first time inventory and mapping of marine habitats of the Hudson River from the Tappan Zee bridge north to the Troy Dam.
Direction, 631 444-0430
Marine Enforcement Unit, 631 444-0460
Finfish & Crustaceans, 631 444-0435
Marine Habitat Protection, 631 444-0455
Shellfisheries, 631 444-0492
Marine Fisheries Permits, 631 444-0471
Emergency Shellfish Closures Hotline, 631 444-0480
The mission of the Bureau of Marine Resources is to manage and maintain the state's living marine, estuarine and anadromous resources, and to protect and enhance the habitat upon which these resources depend, in order to assure that diverse and self-sustaining populations of these resources are available for future generations.
Consistent with such stewardship, and in recognition of the intrinsic value of productive marine ecosystems, the Bureau will manage the state's living marine, estuarine and anadromous resources to achieve optimum benefit by providing for the broadest range of uses including commercial and recreational harvest, human consumption, natural forage and observation and appreciation.
Optimizing benefit may include:
- managing, restoring and enhancing indigenous marine, estuarine and anadromous resources and their habitats;
- regulating the harvest of these resources to optimize yield;
- assuring that living marine, estuarine and anadromous resources available for harvest and human consumption meet public health guidelines;
- providing enhanced public access to waters of the marine and coastal district; and
- promoting public awareness of the value and benefits of diverse and productive marine, estuarine and anadromous resources and habitats and the function of resource management in securing such value and benefits.