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Part 40 Marine Fish - Multi-State Possession Limit - Regulatory Impact Statement

Regulatory Impact Statement

1. Statutory authority:

Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) §§ 11-0303, 13-0105, 13-0339, 13-0340, 13-0340-b, 13-0340-e, and 13-0340-f authorize the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) to establish by regulation the open season, size, catch limits, possession and sale restrictions, and manner of taking for bluefish, fluke, scup, black sea bass, and all quota managed species.

2. Legislative objectives:

ECL section 13-0105 states that it shall be the policy of New York to maintain the long-term health and abundance of marine fisheries resources, providing, among other things, viable business opportunities for commercial fishing that minimizes waste and reduces the number of discards.

3. Needs and benefits:

This rule making would establish a Cooperative Multi-State Possession and Landing Program ("Program") which would allow eligible commercial fishermen to: (1) possess weekly limits for quota-managed species for multiple cooperating states (New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island) onboard the vessel simultaneously while fishing, transiting or landing, and (2) in one trip land their weekly limits with the cooperating states. Currently, a vessel can only possess a single state's limit, regardless of where they are authorized to land. In order to land fish in another state, the vessel would have to then travel back out to sea, repeat fishing operations, and steam back to shore. Under the proposed rule, vessels would remain restricted to landing a state's limit at the appropriate port but could then land additional fish onboard in the ports of other states where they are permitted without having to make separate fishing trips.

Adoption of these amendments on an emergency basis is necessary in order to avoid placing New York's commercial fishermen at a disadvantage compared to commercial fishermen from Connecticut and Rhode Island who have already adopted the necessary regulations to implement the Program. The normal rule making process would not have these amendments adopted before the start of the Winter Period fishing season for fluke on January 1, 2020. Implementing this Program would benefit the general welfare by improving fishing opportunities for eligible commercial fishermen, minimizing safety risks by decreasing time spent at sea, decrease discards (i.e. fish that have already been caught but must be thrown overboard due to a fishermen harvesting more than their daily trip limit), and burn less fuel.

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.

5. Local government mandates:

The proposed rule does not impose any mandates on local government.

6. Paperwork:

None.

7. Duplication:

The proposed rule does not duplicate any state or federal requirement.

8. Alternatives:

"No action" alternative: failure to adopt the proposed regulations would result in some New York fishermen foregoing an opportunity to fish more efficiently while fishermen from Connecticut and Rhode Island benefit from similar programs implemented in their respective states.

9. Federal standards:

The amendments to Part 40 are in compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fishery
Commission (ASMFC) and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (MAFMC) Fishery Management Plans for multiple quota managed species.

10. Compliance schedule:

Compliance with the proposed regulation is required upon the effective date of the rule. Regulated parties will be notified of the changes to the regulations through publication in the State Register, appropriate news releases, and through the Department's website.

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