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Ocean Stewardship and Outreach

Ocean Action Plan Updates

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

Safe Wildlife Viewing

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Being able to witness marine life such as whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and seals in their natural habitat can be a rare and exciting experience! In recent years we have seen a growing number of large pods of dolphins, endangered species of sea turtles, and large whales in New York's coastal waters. Though it may be tempting to try to get close to these animals, it's important to understand responsible Marine Life Viewing Guidelines that have been established by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act.

If you encounter an animal on land or water, please remember that federal law requires you remain:

Image of Harbor seals relaxing on the beach next to the water
Harbor seals, Photo Credit: Dr. Artie Kopelman CRESLI
  • 500 yards away from North Atlantic right whales
  • 100 yards away from all other large whales
  • 50 yards away from dolphins, porpoises, and sea turtles
Please report any sightings of potentially injured marine life to:
NYS Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Hotline by calling 631-369-9829.

NOAA's No Selfies with Seals campaign further reminds us to be considerate when encountering and viewing marine mammals this summer. These animals require a specific amount of personal space - getting too close may put you and the animal at risk. When an animal feels threatened, they are more likely to act unpredictably or become stressed. Take some time to educate yourself before your next outdoor adventure with NOAA's No Selfies with Seals blog.

Atlantic Marine Conservation Society and Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island, Inc. are collaborating partner of the OAP and provides opportunities for safe and responsible viewing of large marine mammals. Their mission includes conducting research and promoting conservation of our coastal ecosystem, along with providing education experiences and advocating for greater citizen involvement in marine science research. Action 61

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 Outreach

Sea Grant NY Logo

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New York Sea Grant in partnership with the Department provide Ocean and Marine Outreach and Extension services. 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 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 person holding a Blue Crab by its two front claws
Blue crab with NYSDEC tag

Citizen Science Participation

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.

Last updated: 02/07/2019