Schneiderman Moves to Sue Federal Government Over Fishing Quotas

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Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman has filed legislation that asks the county attorney to explore a lawsuit against the federal government over commercial fishing quotas, which Schneiderman says are unfair to Suffolk fishermen.

According to Schneiderman’s office, federal quotas allow boats from neighboring states to take double the number of fish New York State fishing vessels make take.

Schneiderman, of Montauk, said the quotas are based on outdated, arbitrary methodology that dates back to Congress’s 1976 passage of the Magnuson Stevens Act.

New York State collects data using the “box method,” while other states use the “weigh out” system, which has resulted in an undercount of fish landings in New York, and even sometimes attributes New York’s fish to other states, according to the legislator. Using this inaccurate historical data discriminates against New York, he says.

Suffolk County is home to most of the state’s commercial fishing fleet, and Schneiderman is banking on that fact to give Suffolk standing to sue on behalf of the state’s fishermen.

“The state-by-state quota allocation system needs to be challenged and revisited so that NY fishermen can receive an equitable portion of the overall quota,” Emerson Hasbrouck of Cornell University Cooperative Extension is quoted as saying in Schneiderman’s press release.

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