Peconic Bay has declared a fishing disaster following the death of scallops in recent years


Peconic Bay was one of four fisheries to be declared a fisheries disaster following the “near unprecedented” Peconic Bay scallop mortality in 2019 and subsequent problems in 2020, the US Department of Commerce announced on June 29. .

The determination makes the fisheries eligible for disaster assistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They may also qualify for disaster assistance from the Small Business Administration, according to the Commerce Department. The department has the remaining balances of previously appropriate fishing-related disaster assistance and will determine the appropriate allocation for Peconic Bay as well as other locations in Washington and Alaska, a press release noted.

“Fishing is essential to our communities and our economy and we want to make sure America is able to remain competitive on the world stage,” US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “These determinations allow us to help families and fishing communities who have experienced very real and difficult setbacks in recent years. “

Governor Andrew Cuomo sent a letter to former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in December 2019 calling for federal action to help New York’s scallop fishery following the death of Peconic Bay.

“Protecting and enhancing New York’s marine environment is essential to maintaining strong economies in coastal communities that depend on healthy ecosystems and stable fisheries,” said the governor at the time.

In February 2020, researchers announced that they had discovered a parasite found in a sample of adult bay scallops that they believed contributed to the 2019 death. New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos, said that in 2020 this is the first time the parasitic coccidian has been seen in New York waters.

The Commerce Ministry said it assesses each fishing disaster claim based primarily on data submitted by the requesting state or tribe. A declared fishery must meet specific requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and / or the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act.

Other areas that met the criteria were the 2019 Norton Sound Red King Crab in Alaska, the 2018 Port Gamble S’Klallam Puget Sound Coho Salmon in Washington, and the 2019 Chehalis and Black River Spring Chinook Salmon in Washington State.

Baymen barely found any scallops at Peconic Bay when the season last opened in November 2020.

“It really hurts the East End. It takes a lot of people’s income away, ”said Ken Homan, owner of Braun Seafood in Cutchogue at the time. “

Ms Seggos said in 2019 that the death of Peconic Bay “once again demonstrated the reality of climate change which will have ripple effects on our local communities.”

County Executive Steve Bellone said in 2019 that declaring a fishing disaster “will go a long way in helping our fishing professionals at this time of need and help protect the long term future of this. industry “.

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