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Fishing captains angry at state limits, fees.

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From Newsday.

 

Down at Captree Boat Basin, captains are booking fishing trips and readying their vessels for Saturday, the first day of the recreational season for summer flounder.

"There are 12 or 14 charter boats at our port, and they're all booked for opening day," said Paul Risi, captain of the Tradewinds II party boat.

As the weather warms, many Long Island captains and bait shops are now set for their busiest season. But stricter limits on the harvest of popular sport fish such as summer flounder - also known as fluke - have hit the recreational fishing industry hard in recent years. And some say the saltwater fishing license requirement introduced by the state last fall has added to their troubles.

Seven Long Island towns have sued the state Department of Environmental Conservation over the license, which they said encroaches on their authority to regulate town waters as granted by a variety of historic patents. Many anglers on the Island have bristled at having to pay for access to what they consider a public resource.

Last week, Suffolk Supreme Court Justice Patrick Sweeney denied the DEC's motion to dismiss the case. He also continued an injunction that bars the agency from enforcing the license requirement in the waters of the seven towns: Southampton, East Hampton, Shelter Island, Brookhaven, Oyster Bay, Southold and Huntington.

When the license took effect last fall, business at Caraftis Fishing Station in Port Jefferson took a nosedive, said owner Tim Caraftis. "So far this year we've only rented one boat," said Caraftis, who also sells bait and marine supplies. "Between the regulations and the license, it's just like a trap."

This year the recreational fluke season runs from May 15 through Sept. 6. That's an improvement from last year, when New York anglers were penalized for exceeding their 2008 allotment of fluke with a short, split season that broke for two weeks in July and ended in mid-August.

"For fluke in particular, the rules are a little bit better," said Robert Feuring, owner of Sea Isle Tackle in Freeport. But he said people are discouraged by the strict size limits - anglers must throw back fluke under 22 inches.

And don't get them started with the license. "Everybody looks at it as a money grab for New York State," he said.

The DEC has sold 129,802 licenses thus far, taking in $2.38 million since last October, according to the agency.

"If you want to collect information, which the trustees have no problem cooperating with, why do you need the $10 license?" said Joseph Lombardo, senior assistant town attorney for the Town of Southampton. He said the state agency was looking to replace its own budget shortfall with revenues from the licenses.

Long Island state legislators have proposed several bills to amend the license or rescind it altogether.

State Sen. Brian Foley (D-Blue Point), who supports setting up a registry instead, said the data can be collected more cheaply than the DEC had estimated. "We believe this approach will satisfy the federal requirements of a more accurate count and not burden the fishing public with any additional fees," he said.

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I didn't realize a customer needed a fishing license for a party or charter boat - is that true? I thought the boat boat a license, and it covered all their passengers.

 

In the case of Caraftis I could see the impact - if you're renting skiffs, maybe some people would rather dodge the license fee and fish from shore (thinking they stood a better chance of avoiding the DEC).

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View PostI didn't realize a customer needed a fishing license for a party or charter boat - is that true? I thought the boat boat a license, and it covered all their passengers.

 

In the case of Caraftis I could see the impact - if you're renting skiffs, maybe some people would rather dodge the license fee and fish from shore (thinking they stood a better chance of avoiding the DEC).

 

You're right no one needs a license to fish on a head boat. Paul was saying that Party boat Captain are finding it harder because they need to buy a special license to carry people to fish now. I think that license is $4000 annually (I may be wrong about the price) but that's what he is talking about in the article.

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View PostYou're right no one needs a license to fish on a head boat. Paul was saying that Party boat Captain are finding it harder because they need to buy a special license to carry people to fish now. I think that license is $4000 annually (I may be wrong about the price) but that's what he is talking about in the article.

 

One two many zeros... it's $400 annually.

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The $400.00 is the same for a party boat or a 6 pack . despite the big difference in the amount of people . I thought that injunction was only for three towns, and will not work in Montauk.

Willie

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