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Part 40 Tautog RIS

Regulatory Impact Statement

  1. Statutory authority:
    Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) sections 11-0303, 13-0105, and 13-0340-d authorize the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC or the department) to establish by regulation the open season, size, catch limits, possession and sale restrictions and manner of taking for tautog (blackfish).
  2. Legislative objectives:
    It is the objective of the above-cited legislation that DEC manages marine fisheries to optimize resource use for commercial and recreational harvesters in a manner that is consistent with marine fisheries conservation and management policies and interstate fishery management plans.
  3. Needs and benefits:
    This rule making is necessary for New York State to reduce the harvest of tautog and remain in compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's new amendment to the Tautog fishery management plan. These new restrictions were developed in response to the 2016 stock assessment update, which showed that the Long Island Sound and New York Bight tautog populations are overfished, and overfishing is occurring.
    The proposed amendment will apply more restrictive tautog fishing rules for both recreational and commercial fishers specific to each area. Reductions for each area will be achieved through changes to possession limits and/or open and closed seasons for both the recreational and commercial fisheries.
    DEC is adopting these changes in order to protect the general welfare of New York state citizens by complying with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and maintaining the sustainability of an important recreational and commercial fishery. Current tautog regulations do not satisfy the latest reduction mandated by the ASMFC, and leaving them unchanged would likely result in over-harvest of tautog by New York fishers. If ASMFC determines that New York is non-compliant, it notifies the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. The Secretary could then promulgate and enforce a complete closure of New York's tautog fishery if they concur with the non-compliance determination.
  4. Costs:
    There are no new costs to state and local governments from this action. The department will incur limited costs associated with both the implementation and administration of these rules, including the costs relating to notifying recreational and commercial fishers, party and charter boat operators, and other recreational fishing associated businesses of the new rules.
  5. Local government mandates: The proposed rule does not impose any mandates on local government.
  6. Paperwork: None.
  7. Duplication: The amendment does not duplicate any state or federal requirement.
  8. Alternatives:
    New York State marine recreational and commercial fishers had an opportunity to comment upon Amendment 1 to the tautog Fishery Management Plan, including the measures proposed in this rulemaking, during the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's public comment period from May 15, 2017 through July 14, 2017. New York's fishers also had the opportunity to attend a public hearing on the amendment at the Division of Marine Resources office in East Setauket on June 20, 2017. Alternative management measures, which included various combinations of possession limits and seasons for both recreational and commercial fisheries, were suggested and discussed. While some fishers questioned the need to reduce harvest at all, support was in favor of the measures included in this rule making when compared to alternative reduction options. The proposed regulations in this rule making were agreed to by consensus of the Marine Resource Advisory Council members on November 8, 2017 and January 23, 2018.
    "No action" alternative: If New York were to not adopt regulations that reduced recreational and commercial tautog fishing in 2018, the State would be out of compliance with Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission requirements, which could result in the complete closure of New York's tautog fishery.
  9. Federal standards: The amendments to Part 40 are in compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's tautog Fishery Management Plan.
  10. Compliance schedule:
    These regulations are being adopted by emergency rulemaking and therefore will take effect immediately upon filing with Department of State. Regulated parties must comply immediately and will be notified of the changes to the regulations through appropriate news releases, by mail, and through DEC's website.