In Media: Long Island Commercial Fishing Survey Launched
Seafood Safety and Technology - News


The 2021 Long Island Commercial Fishing Survey was launched, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced Monday. Photo: Fluke at the dock. Credit: Augie Ruckdeschel, Suffolk County Department of Economic Development & Planning

The survey is designed to highlight the needs of local fishermen and maintain a sustainable industry. A link to the survey is in the story.

By Michael DeSantis, Patch.com, Huntington

Huntington, NY, April 26, 2021 - The Long Island Commercial Fishing Survey was launched, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced Monday.

The survey is meant to help the county develop a current profile of the Long Island commercial fishing industry, which has been especially hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Bellone.

The Long Island fishing survey can be taken here.

"Long Island's heritage is tied directly to our fishing and aquaculture industries," Bellone stated. "When we had to shut down last spring to beat back COVID-19 and save lives, the commercial fishing industry, like so many others, suffered. But there is good news, we are working to build back stronger than ever and this needs assessment survey will identify key points and allow us to provide the resources needed to ensure this industry thrives."

The data collected through the survey will highlight local fishermens' needs and help agencies provide the resources necessary to support a sustainable fishing industry. The survey is different from prior years, as it includes questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted commercial fishermen on Long Island. The survey features questions on the profitability of the industry over the last year and moving forward, questions on revenues over the last year, and changes to the business model over the last year, among others.

"Commercial fishermen, by the very nature of their business, have lived through the highs and lows of changes to fish stocks and regulations, weather events like Hurricane Sandy, and now COVID-19," said Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association. "Suffolk County's commercial fishing survey could not come at a better time to assess the needs of this heritage industry to rebuild and grow our markets even stronger than before."

Suffolk's maritime history spans more than 400 years and strongly impacts Long Island. In 2019, 361 commercial fishing establishments landed more than 19 million pounds of fish valued at over $27 million. These revenues generated an additional $47.4 million in economic activity, additional earnings of $15.4 million, and 656 additional jobs.

Last year, the COVID-19 outbreak caused restaurants across New York to close or operate at a limited capacity in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's bid to protect public health. Long Island's fishing and seafood industries were rocked by the loss of a crucial customer base, and market prices for fish dropped between 60 and 80 percent, according to Suffolk County. Some harvested fish went unsold entirely.

Many fishermen were left with few, if any, options to get their catch to customers as the export market closed on valuable species such as squid, tuna and Jonah crab.

"Commercial fishermen in Suffolk County catch some of the most nutritious, sustainable species in the United States," said August Ruckdeschel, chair of the Suffolk County Food Policy Council. "But the industry is still struggling in a post-COVID world. We hope the results from the survey will demonstrate the value of our local fisheries and help us identify opportunities for economic growth within the industry."

The survey was developed in partnership with the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning, New York Sea Grant, Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program, and the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association.

Fishermen and aquaculturists interested in exploring new markets for their seafood are also invited to join a webinar scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday.

The webinar, hosted by New York Sea Grant, will announce the release of a new set of regulatory guides and topical resources developed by partners including the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development & Planning, the Suffolk County Department of Labor, and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, to help New York producers navigate the framework regarding seafood processing and different avenues of sale for seafood in New York, according to Suffolk County.


More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, University at Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Elmsford and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter, "NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, www.nyseagrant.org/blog.

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