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July 13, 2012 - Field Notes

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

In This Issue:

Books and Bobbers: Borrow Fishing Gear from the Library

A trip to the library is usually for a book, but what about going there for fishing equipment? As another way to introduce New Yorker's to fishing and to recruit new anglers, DEC's I FISH NY Program has partnered with libraries to loan fishing rods to library cardholders. Libraries receive spin casting rods, hooks, bobbers and outreach materials to help patrons get started. Currently, participating libraries are located in the Capital District (Albany's Main Branch, Cohoes, Scotia, Middleburgh and Rensselaerville) and in central New York. Libraries interested in participating in this free program are encouraged to contact DEC's Bureau of Fisheries at 518-402-8891, or email the Bureau. When fishing in New York State, you must follow current freshwater fishing regulations and possess a valid fishing license if you are above the age of 16. Happy reading and fishing!

mallard ducks in flight
In New York State, mallards are the most abundant
ducks in terms of breeding population size and
occurrences in reported hunter harvest.
~Photo by Joshua Stiller

2012 Waterfowl Population Estimates

DEC has been conducting annual waterfowl breeding surveys since 1989 to monitor the status of populations. Survey results are combined with estimates from other states to aid in establishing waterfowl hunting seasons in the Atlantic Flyway. This year, New York's waterfowl estimates show a declining trend, which is summarized below:

  • Mallard duck pairs (74,000) are the second lowest recorded and are well below the 100,000 or more breeding pairs that existed in the late 1990s. A similar trend is occurring across the Atlantic Flyway. If this decline continues, duck hunting seasons may need to be reduced in the future.
  • Black duck pairs (2,400) have declined more than 50 percent since surveys began, whereas wood duck pairs (45,000) remain stable.
  • Canada goose pairs (69,000) are the lowest in nearly a decade, but populations remain above desired levels in most areas.

More details on these estimates are available in the May issue of the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Monthly Highlights (link below).

Keeping Current with Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources

Learn how DEC protects and enhances New York State's wild natural resources by reading the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Monthly Highlights. In the latest issue, you will learn about banding peregrine falcons and satellite tracking, an analysis of popular game fish populations having catch-and-release only regulations, a reintroduction of native deepwater cisco species into Lake Ontario, protection of aquatic resources at power plants, waterfowl population estimates in the Atlantic Flyway and much more! To see the latest issue and previous issues, visit the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Monthly Highlights

Changes Adopted for Deer and Bear Hunting Regulations

For the 2012 deer and bear hunting season, regulations were recently adopted to increase bow seasons, expand mandatory deer antler restrictions to more areas, adjust bear seasons to remain concurrent with deer seasons and much more. Many of these regulatory changes stem from DEC's five-year White-tailed Deer Management Plan, released in 2011. For more details, visit DEC's press release webpage for Adopted Changes to State Deer Hunting Regulations. Also, to help you plan for big game hunting trips this fall and winter, season dates are now available on DEC's 2012 Deer and Bear Hunting Seasons webpage.

Female lobster with eggs
The v-notch mark at the base of the tail, as shown on
this egg-bearing female, is a fisheries management
tool used to ensure breeding females are released
back into the water when captured.
~Photo courtesy of NOAA

Lobster "V-Notching" Regulations Established

Effective July 11, 2012, all legal size egg-bearing female lobsters captured in Lobster Conservation Management Areas (LMA) 2, 4 and 5 must be v-notched and immediately released back into the water. These regulations comply with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Interstate American Lobster Fishery Management Plan, which seeks to reduce harvest of the Southern New England lobster stock by 10 percent to enable populations to increase by January 1, 2013. To ensure that a reduction in exploitation begins in 2013, v-notching must take place during this commercial fishing year. More details, including regulatory text and an impact statement, are available on DEC's Emergency Regulations webpage. For complete regulations, including size limits and pot and trap restrictions, visit DEC's Lobster Regulations webpage.

Commercial Coastal Shark Fishery Starts July 15

On July 15, the commercial fishery for non-sandbar large coastal sharks opens. Permitted species include great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, lemon shark, nurse shark, silky shark, spinner shark and tiger shark. No more than 33 sharks, regardless of species, may be landed or taken in any 24-hour period. Commercially harvested sharks may be caught by the following methods and gears only: rod and reel; handline, which shall be retrieved by hand, not mechanical means and shall be attached to or in contact with a vessel; small mesh gillnet; large mesh gillnet; trawl; shortline; pound net; and weir. A maximum of two shortlines per vessel may be used. The use of any other gear to take sharks for commercial purposes is prohibited. For more information, visit the Coastal Sharks Commercial Fishing Regulations webpage.

July 17 - Marine Resources Advisory Council Meeting

The next Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC) meeting will be held 7 PM on Tuesday, July 17 at the DEC Bureau of Marine Resources Office in East Setauket, Long Island. MRAC advises DEC regarding decisions on the protection and use of New York State's valuable marine resources. Currently, an agenda is unavailable. Visit the MRAC website (External link) for more information and to view the agenda when it becomes available.

More Noteworthy DEC News

Below are noteworthy DEC press releases not to be missed!

Five-lined skink on a tree
The jaw of a male five-lined skink turns red during the spring
breeding season.
~Photo by Patrick Coin; courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Did You Know...?

New York State is home to four species of lizards, with the northern fence lizard, five-lined skink and coal skink being natives. Many of these tiny, four-legged reptiles have a unique ability to shed their tails as a defense mechanism. The detached tail thrashes on the ground, distracting predators and giving lizards a chance to scurry away.

Read more about our local species in a colorful DEC brochure, Lizards of New York State (PDF) (588 KB).

Year of the Lizard: Don't forget to celebrate 2012 as the "Year of the Lizard," designated by Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) to promote lizard conservation and awareness. Learn more at Year of the Lizard website (External link)

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