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Ocean Stewardship

Ocean Action Plan Updates

The implementation of New York's Ocean Action Plan works to support the achievement of tasks and actions identified within the OAP itself. With the help of DEC sponsored programs, competitive research grants, and monitoring and data collection priorities, DEC can make well informed decisions in conserving our ocean resources. Many of the sixty-one Actions are underway. Following the timelines identified within the OAP, regular updates will be provided through a State of the Ocean Report. DEC and our partners are leading the nation in effective ocean management.

Here is a closer look at some of the exciting projects we are working on through the New York Ocean Action Plan:

Recreational Fishing Kiosks

NYS Marine Fishing Registry Brochure

The Information Kiosks at Fishing Access Sites project provides information on recreational fishing and fish identifications in multiple languages. This project aims to inform recreational anglers about the NYS Marine Fishing Registry as well as the Saltwater Fishing Regulations. The information that is now available provides fishing season closures, bag limits, and size limits. Kiosks also provide information about species identifications and other marine habitat information. This project represents an opportunity to educate the public and encourage marine and ocean stewardship as outlined by the OAP. Action 57 and 59.

Marine Debris Program

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Marine debris remains one of the most chronic pollution problems the world experiences today. Our oceans are currently filled with massive amounts of consumer plastics, metals, rubber, paper, textiles, fishing gear, and other everyday items. In order to combat this issue, NOAA's Marine Debris Program works with stakeholders like the MidA RPB to investigate and prevent the adverse impacts of marine debris. Together, they have developed the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.

The Trash-Free Waters program is an EPA sponsored project dedicated to reducing the volume of trash entering U.S. waterways. This program works in collaboration with the MidA RPB to ensure that all Mid-Atlantic waters strive to become trash-free. Common trash from consumer goods pollutes our waterways and oceans, and becomes the main source of marine debris. This is problematic because marine debris, like plastic, degrade aquatic habitats, trap and suffocate wildlife, and damage human health. NYS is working with regional RPB and tribal leaders in identifying a target type of debris and developing an outreach strategy that is current focusing on social awareness campaigns around balloon releases. Action 60

New York Sea Grant Ocean Research

Sae Grant NY Logo

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New York Sea Grant in partnership with the Department will provide Ocean and Marine Outreach and Extension services which includes hiring a NY Ocean and Marine Outreach Coordinator. This includes the development, implementation, and evaluation of a formal stakeholder engagement process for promoting the New York Ocean Action Plan's long-term agenda and other pertinent New York Ocean and Coastal plans and policies. Under this task a biannual Ocean Action Plan stakeholder workshop in collaboration with the New York Marine Science Consortium and the Department's NY Ocean Coordinator will occur. In addition, Sea Grant, in partnership with the Department, will assist the Ocean Advisory Committee (as mentioned in the Ocean Action Plan), in their oversight of plan implementation. The Ocean Advisory Committee will be led by the Department and NYS Department of State. An extension and outreach program to increase ocean ecosystem literacy will be established in coordination with the Department, NOAA and other key stakeholders to help to develop Goal 4 and specifically addresses Actions 53, 56, 57.

Photo of Harbor Seal
Harbor seal (Photo credit: USFWS)

Safe Wildlife Viewing

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NOAA's No Selfies with Seals campaign is here to remind you to be considerate when viewing Marine Mammals this summer. Marine mammals like Whales, Dolphins, Sea Turtles, and Seals require a certain amount of personal space; getting too close may put you and the animal at risk. When an animal feels threatened or stressed, they are much more likely to act unpredictably. NOAA recommends safe viewing distances are typically 300 feet for whales; 150 feet for dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, and sea turtles; and 1,500 feet for all species when viewing from the air. To add, approaching a wild animal can be considered harassment, which is illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Take some time to educate yourself before your next outdoor adventure with NOAA's No Selfies with Seals blog. Action 61

Citizen Science Participation

Photo of Blue Crab
Blue crab with NYSDEC tag

DEC offers a variety of opportunities for members of the community to participate in marine science research and conservation efforts. Volunteering your time not only gives citizens hands on experience, but provides NYSDEC biologists with essential data which they will use to make informed decisions to better conserve important marine species.

Projects include horseshoe crab monitoring, blue crab monitoring, lobster monitoring, Atlantic sturgeon salvage program, artificial reef fish surveying, and the striped bass cooperative anglers program. Coming soon are programs to report shark sightings, reporting harmful marine algal blooms, and whale and sea turtle observations. The data collected applies to a number of Actions including 14, 16, 21, 22, 24, 25 and importantly to the public Actions 56, 57
and 61