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In Media: New Esplanade Bait Station To Aid East River Anglers In Harlem
Marine Fisheries Resource Center: Small Grants - News

A new bait station will help anglers prepare bait, inspect catches and clean fish that they can bring home. Credit: Jennifer Ratner, Friends of the East River Esplanade

 By Brendan Krisel, Patch Staff 
Harlem, NY > Community Corner

The station was installed by the Friends of the East River Esplanade through a $15,000 state grant

East Harlem, NY, Oct 4, 2019 - The men and women who fish off of the East River Esplanade have a vital new resource in the form of an ADA-accessible bait station on a stretch of the East Harlem waterfront.

The station — where fishermen and fisherwomen can prepare bait, inspect catches to see if they require release and clean catches to take home — was funded by the group Friends of the East River Esplanade through a $15,000 grant from New York Sea Grant, according to the organization's board chair Jennifer Ratner. In addition to serving as a useful tool for East River anglers, the bait station is outfitted with public art depicting sketches of the types of fish that call the urban river home, Ratner said.

"We sort of combined our public art initiative and made it a functional piece of public art, made it into the bait station," Ratner said.

Before the station was installed, people who fished along the East River Esplanade were forced to clean their catches on the ground or on benches, Ratner said. With anglers being some of the steadiest users of the esplanade in East Harlem, the group saw the bait station as a great way to deliver on its mission to "surprise and delight people along the waterfront," Ratner said.

"If you go to other areas where there's a lot of fishing — you know, around the country — there's always bait stations," Ratner said.

The bait station, outfitted with sketches of fish species native to the East River, serves as functional public art. Credit: Jennifer Ratner, Friends of the East River Esplanade

Friends of the East River Esplanade is dedicated to advocating for users of the esplanade from 60th to 120th streets, and the group notices that an uneven amount of investment has gone to the southern section of the esplanade in recent years. That ultimately led to the decision to install the bait station in East Harlem. When it comes to the larger needs of the esplanade in El Barrio, small nonprofit groups such as Friends of East River Esplanade can only do so much.

It's up to the city to make due on its promises to invest in the East River Esplanade above 96th Street, Ratner said.

"It was the least we could do for the people whose waterfront has really been neglected, there are a lot more things that these fishermen need," Ratner said, citing needed repairs for the neglected and now closed pier at East 107th Street.

The bait station was designed by Jacobs Chang architecture and constructed pro bono by contractors such as SMI construction, Silman and Maspeth Welding, Ratner said. A ribbon cutting ceremony for the resource was held Tuesday.

More Info: Marine Small Grants

This project was supported by a partnership between New York Sea Grant, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Marine and Coastal District of New York Conservation, Education, and Research Grants Program.

Funding is supported from the Marine and Coastal District License Plate which is administered by the Marine and Coastal District of New York Conservation, Education and Research Board, and authorized through NYS Environmental Conservation Law Article 13, Title 5 Section 13-0503. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Stony Brook University or New York Sea Grant.

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, SUNY 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 Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, 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.

New York Sea Grant Home *  NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Home *  New York State’s Marine and Coastal District of New York license plates

This website is supported through a partnership between New York Sea Grant, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Marine and Coastal District of New York Conservation, Education, and Research Grants Program

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