NYSG Extension Surveys the Impacts of Sandy on Recreational Fisheries and Marinas
Coastal Processes & Hazards - News
Surveying the Impacts of Sandy on Recreational Fisheries

Antoinette Clemetson, New York Sea Grant’s (NYSG) Marine Fisheries Specialist, began working with a group of fishing industry trade representatives within a few weeks after Superstorm Sandy to facilitate rapid response data collection from fishing businesses (bait and tackle, charter boats) that were impacted. This need arose from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s announcement of a fishery resource disaster declaration in coastal communities in New York and New Jersey in November 2012, under Section 308(d) of the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act and Section 315 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.  This information will serve as a useful reference point in the discussions to develop a recovery plan to be partially funded from the congressional appropriation under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013.

The impacts to the fisheries community have been tremendous and the costs to the region’s infrastructure are being measured in the billions of dollars. Docks, boats, businesses and entire communities have been lost in several locations. As the region struggles to assess the impacts on livelihoods, a collection of industry groups asked NY Sea Grant to facilitate data collection to document the damages in recreational fishing communities.

In mid-November 2012, the Department of Commerce officially determined that a regional fisheries disaster had occurred. In addition to authorizing Small Business Administration loans (SBA), the determination allowed Congress to appropriate disaster relief funding to assist affected communities. At the request of the New York Fishing Tackle Trade Association, United Boatmen of NY, New York Sportfishing Federation, Regal Marine Products, and the Recreational Fishing Alliance, New York Sea Grant is helping to collect information to document losses and physical damages to businesses as a part of the recreational fishing industry.

NYSG developed a confidential questionnaire and asked business owners to describe the changes in their business that occurred since Saturday October 27, 2012. Data are being collected from tackle shops, party/charter boats, and marinas to create the foundation of a spending plan that is required in an appropriation request to rebuild the fishing industry.

Surveying the Impacts of Sandy on Marinas

Since the storm, NYSG’s Coastal Processes Specialist Jay Tanski began working closely with marinas to survey their economic losses. Tanski asked marina owners to describe the type, square footage, and initial investment on the buildings, facilities, structures, inventory and equipment in their marina before and after Sandy as well as estimate the lost revenues and marketing opportunities.

The results of the economic survey were presented to Empire State Development, the president of the New York State Home And Community Renewal program, the South Shore Estuary Reserve and the Small Business Development Corporation and helped insure that marinas were eligible for U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development recovery grants.

NYSG also participated through the State University of New York experts team on NYS 2100 Commission: Recommendations to Improve the Strength and Resilience of the Empire State’s Infrastructure, a commission appointed by the Governor of NY in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Among other things, the NYS 2100 Report encourages the use of green and natural infrastructure, including “providing incentives for creation of soft shorelines and wetlands,” and “including building living shorelines, new wetlands,” and similar structures. In May, Tanski conducted a "Living Shorelines" workshop on the uses of living shorelines and related methods.

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