Relates to the regulation of surf clams/ocean quahogs.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to regulations on surf clams/ocean quahogs; and to amend chapter 158 of the laws of 2011 amending the environmental conservation law relating to the harvesting of surf clams and ocean quahogs, in relation to making certain provisions permanent
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To continue to allow surf clams and ocean quahogs to be cooperatively harvested, to require participants to notify the department of environmental conservation about their intent to cooperatively harvest, to restrict cooperative harvesting to no more than four permits per vessel, and to clarify that there is no requirement that an individual fishing quota be tied to a vessel.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section One amends subdivision 15 of the section 13-0309 of the environmental conservation law, to provide additional notification requirements for those engaging in the cooperative harvesting of surf clams. New subdivision (1) allows the department of environmental conservation to promulgate a rule or regulation requiring those engaging in cooperative harvesting to file a form notifying the department of their intent cooperatively harvest, prior to commencement. New subdivision (g) authorizes the department of environmental conservation to promulgate a rule or regulation limiting cooperative harvesting, so that no more than four permits can be cooperatively harvested from the same vessel. New subdivision (h) clarifies that there is no requirement to identify an individual fishing quota to a vessel as a condition of application or holding a permit.
Section Two amends section 2 of chapter 158 of the laws of 2011, to continue to allow the cooperative harvesting of surf clams and ocean quahogs in New York waters.
Section Three is the effective date.
In 2011, the legislature unanimously passed a cooperative harvesting law for the surf clam and ocean quahog fishery. The enactment of the 2011 legislation has made the harvesting of this fishery more economical, safer and sustainable. The 2011 legislation not only increased the monetary value of all permits, but also helped keep several independent companies in business.
Prior to the enactment of the cooperative harvesting legislation, the surf clam/ocean quahog industry saw a reduction in harvest quotas by the Department. That reduction, combined with increased fuel and insurance costs, placed significant economic pressures on all harvesting companies. These pressures resulted in a reduction of the profitability of individual permits. The decreased profitability of single permits caused a number of independent harvesters to sell off their companies.
Chapter 158 of 2011, which provided for the cooperative harvesting of surf clams and ocean quahogs has not only made the industry economically sustainable, but it has actually increased safety and efficiency. Since the 2011 law became effective, the industry has worked cooperatively to harvest their allocations, and independent companies that were formerly not harvesting due to poor economic conditions, are now doing so. By making the cooperative harvesting law permanent, but granting the department additional authority so that they can track industry operations and the authority to limit the number of permits being cooperatively harvested to four permits per vessel, we can ensure the continued operation and success of the surf clam/ocean quahog industry in our state.
Finally, this bill would clarify that there is no requirement that companies that are cooperatively harvesting, maintain their unused vessels in order to retain their right to a permit. Several independent companies, including Capt. Jack's Clam Products, Edgar Seafood Products Inc., Fernandez and Family Inc., and Verbeke Inc., have made this request to save money and better afford to stay in business. Not only is this requirement without basis in protecting environmental resources, but it is not economical to require an industry that is already struggling to maintain and invest in vessels for which they have no intention of using. Aging and unusable vessels being left in marinas for the sole purpose of "parking" a permit could prove damaging to the environment. For both economic and environmental reasons, best practices would suggest that aging and unusable vessels should be removed from our waters.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
Chapter 158 of 2011.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5738--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE June 10, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. ZELDIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to regu- lations on surf clams/ocean quahogs; and to amend chapter 158 of the laws of 2011 amending the environmental conservation law relating to the harvesting of surf clams and ocean quahogs, in relation to making certain provisions permanent THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 15 of section 13-0309 of the environmental conservation law, as amended by chapter 158 of the laws of 2011, is amended to read as follows: 15. Cooperative harvesting. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter or rule or regulation, persons holding harvesting permits in New York's Atlantic Ocean surf clam/ocean quahog fishery are hereby authorized to cooperatively harvest any portion of the person's individ- ual fishing quota (IFQ) by use of any vessel that is eligible to harvest shellfish in the fishery, subject to the following: a. Such cooperative harvesting shall comply with daily catch limits established for the fishery by the department which shall be counted against both the IFQ holder vessel's and the harvesting vessel's daily catch limits
[.]; b. The harvesting vessel used to catch such IFQ or portion thereof shall be identified to the department in both the IFQ holder's and the harvesting vessel's report to the department [.]; c. In cooperative harvesting there shall be no requirement that the captain of the IFQ holder's vessel be on board the harvesting vessel during harvesting [.];EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD11415-08-3 S. 5738--A 2
d. In cooperative harvesting the IFQ holder will provide the captain of the harvesting vessel with such cage tags as are necessary to account for the harvest attributable to such IFQ holder
[.]; e. Nothing herein described shall alter the daily, weekly or annual catch limits obtainable by any IFQ holder within the fishery [.]; F. THE DEPARTMENT MAY PROMULGATE A RULE OR REGULATION REQUIRING THOSE ENGAGING IN COOPERATIVE HARVESTING TO FILE A FORM NOTIFYING THE DEPART- MENT PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT, PROVIDED HOWEVER, NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT TO DISAPPROVE ANY SUBMISSION THAT COMPLIES WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION; G. THE DEPARTMENT MAY PROMULGATE A RULE OR REGULATION LIMITING COOPER- ATIVE HARVESTING TO NO MORE THAN FOUR PERMITS PER VESSEL; AND H. THERE SHALL BE NO REQUIREMENT TO IDENTIFY AN IFQ TO A VESSEL AS A CONDITION OF APPLICATION OR HOLDING OF A PERMIT. S 2. Section 2 of chapter 158 of the laws of 2011 amending the envi- ronmental conservation law relating to the harvesting of surf clams and ocean quahogs, is amended to read as follows: S 2. This act shall take effect immediately [and]; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT SUBDIVISION 16 OF SECTION 13-0309 OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION LAW AS ADDED BY SECTION ONE OF THIS ACT shall expire and be deemed repealed December 31, 2013. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.