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Bill to Protect Menhadden

Great job Senator Addabbo


Queens, NY (February 11, 2019): The NYS Senate passed S.2317, co-sponsored by Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. which prohibits taking a species of fish known as the Atlantic Menhaden from district waters using a purse seine.

“Last year when the bill failed to reach the Senate floor for a vote, I pledged to support the bill’s passage in 2019, ensuring that local fishermen and wildlife would not be negatively impacted by overfishing. The passage of S.2317/A.2571 by both houses is great news for coastal areas within the district,” Addabbo said.

Seine fishing involves using a large fishing net, called a seine, cast off the side of large commercial fishing boats to collect fish. Menhadan fish are popular for seine fishing because they are used for fishmeal and fish-oil based products and local anglers use them as bait to catch larger fish that they can eat or sell. They are also a major food source for whales, dolphins and other large marine life.

Under current laws, any fishing vessel that purchases a permit can legally use these purse seines to capture large amounts of these vital fish species. “Atlantic Menhaden have fallen victim to overfishing in the waters of the Rockaways”, Addabbo said. “We have seen a strong comeback of Menhaden in the waters off the Rockaways and Broad Channel in recent years thanks to the efforts of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the passage of this vital legislation will only continue that progress.”

Dan Mundy, Jr. of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers stated, “The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers commend Senator Addabbo for his leadership on this bill to protect this critical Marine Resource. Menhaden are the single most important fish species and are the main food source for so many other species including Whales, dolphins, seals, striped bass, blue fish, weak fish and many others. They are considered the most important baseline food source for the entire ocean food chain. This bill is critical to stop large corporations from entering our waters with their massive vacuum ships that literally wipe out entire schools of these fish in single takes. We need to ensure that this species is protected from this type of harmful practice and that our waters remain a home for the whales and dolphins for future generations to enjoy.”

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Jamaica Bay Gets the Seal of Approval -(Rockaway Times)

Jamaica Bay Gets the Seal of Approval



Seals have always drawn attention when they’ve hauled out onto the beach over the past few winters, but it seems they’ve found a new hot spot this season—Jamaica Bay.

On Sunday, December 30, Dan Mundy, Jr. of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, was out on a boat, exploring the bay, when he came across a rare sight—a pair of adorable harbor seals hauled out on Yellow Bar wetlands island, just west of Broad Channel.

Seals aren’t exactly uncommon in local waters. Over the past few winters, a few have been seen hauling themselves out onto the beach to relax. They’re so common now that American Princess Cruises has operated a seal watching tour in the winter for several years. The tour usually heads to Swinburne Island near Staten Island, where dozens of seals can be seen sunbathing on the rocks or swimming around nearby. However, spotting them in Jamaica Bay itself is more of a rarity and according to Mundy, it’s a great sign for the bay.

“This is a great thing going on in the bay. The seals are probably chasing herring here this time of year. It’s definitely a good sign for the bay,” Mundy said, who spotted the seals midday on Sunday. “I spotted them on Yellow Bar Island, which the Army Corps of Engineers restored a big portion of about 10 years ago. That island is doing very well now. Sometimes we’ll run into birds worth noting like snowy owls, and now we’re seeing more seals. Seeing seals around here used to be very rare, but over the last 10 years or so, we’ve started to see them more often. You’re not going to see them every time, but it’s more on a regular basis now that you’ll see them throughout the whole bay, from the tip of Breezy Point on in,” he said.

Mundy says a big contributing factor to seeing more seals is the unique depths of Jamaica Bay. “Jamaica Bay isn’t like the Long Island Sound with shallow waters. We have some areas that are 60 feet deep and these areas support this massive amount of bio-life like herring and large mammals that come into the area like seals. This is a great indicator for the bay and the health of the water, but it’s also possible because of the deep areas,” Mundy said.

However Mundy added that there has been an ongoing battle to keep it that way as various government agencies and scientists have frequently proposed filling in the deep portions. “We’re trying to make scientists and agencies more aware of the critical importance of the deep areas of the bay. These deep areas were dug out by man, but our local organizations and fishermen that have a pulse on the area realize that it was a great thing. If the whole bay was 10-feet deep, you’d never have the amount of fish or marine mammals that we have here,” Mundy said. “There’s a lack of understanding when it comes to agencies and scientists. Sometimes they’ll suggest that it be refilled, which is horrifying to us. Some scientists mean well and some agencies listen, but some love the idea of making the bay more shallow, which would be a very bad idea. Seeing those seals on Sunday just highlights how well the bay is doing because the water is deep enough for those mammals to come and feed and relax here. It really is a great sign.”

Photos by Dan Mundy, Jr.

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Ecowatchers support NYC DEP long term control plan

“The Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s fully sup ort DEP’s Jamaica Bay Improvement Plan and commend them for their outreach to local environmental groups in crafting this proposal,” said Dan Mundy, Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers. “The numerous nature based features incorporated in this plan, including wetlands and ribbed mussels, recognize the critical role these habitats play in naturally cleaning and filtering the waters of the bay. In addition, they host numerous species of fish, reptiles and birds and ultimately have a tremendous positive combined ecological effect on the entire bay. After years of advocating for the bay, it is very encouraging to see the numerous environmental projects “turning the tide” on the health of the bay and producing water quality and restored habitat that guarantees a thriving Jamaica Bay for future generations.”

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Research Vessel for School Children to Study Jamaica Bay

Ecowatchers advocate for SRIJB research vessel that could be used to allow NYC School Children to learn about Jamaica Bay. Would be great way to allow school kids to learn about the environment of Jamaica Bay

WAVE article on recent Meeting with Elected officials and SRIJB director Adam Parish to discuss and plan learning initiative for next spring

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For Release: Friday, October 23, 2015
Reef Project Will Improve Fishing and Diving at Rockaway Reef


A new series of man-made reefs will be constructed off the south shore of Long Island to improve marine life habitat and bolster recreational opportunities for fishing and scuba diving, the Department of Environmental Conservation announced today.

Federal and state permits were recently secured for the Rockaway Reef project, and the first placement of materials is happening this week. “The deployment of these new reef building materials will recreate vital marine habitat essential for improving the health of marine fish while also providing benefits for divers and fishermen alike,” said DEC Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman. “We thank the Army Corps of Engineers for working with DEC to obtain these new permits and to ensure this economically important habitat restoration continues.”

Rockaway Reef, originally permitted in 1965, is a 413-acre area of man-made reefs located 1.6 nautical miles south of Rockaway Beach off Long Island. Under a previous reef permit, thousands of tons of rock, concrete and steel had been placed there over the decades creating important marine habitat. The most current permit had sunset in 1989, resulting in no new material being added to the reef, and recent reports had indicated much of the previously placed material had silted in or collapsed, degrading the habitat created.

Rockaway Reef is one of 11 sites managed through NYSDEC’s Artificial Reef Program, which was established to increase fisheries habitat and provide marine fish and other organisms additional opportunities for shelter and foraging.

Transco-Williams, the company associated with the Rockaway Delivery Lateral Pipeline Project, will pay for the $1.6 million project.

More than 450 sections of concrete coated steel pipe will be placed to expand the network of individual patch reefs throughout the Rockaway Reef site. These patch reefs will provide valuable marine habitat for popular finfish species such as tautog, fluke, black sea bass and scup, as well as for crabs and lobsters.

“I look forward to NYSDEC’s construction of man-made reefs on the southern portion of Rockaway Beach, which will bolster tourism activities, sustain a more well-rounded environment, and foster a healthy habitat for robust marine life,” said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks. “I thank the Governor for his ongoing efforts to bolster Rockaway Beach post-Super Storm Sandy and I look forward to continuing to work with him to enhance our communities.”

“The Rockaway peninsula is flourishing, and is now more vibrant and exciting than ever before,” said Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. “The addition of new reefs will contribute to this by attracting more divers and fisherman to the area while also protecting the water and keeping our environment clean, safe and healthy.”

“The creation of Rockaway Reef in 1965 was a landmark achievement in our efforts to protect coastal habitats and promote marine recreation activities,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “In reauthorizing this project, New York State has ensured our community’s continued stewardship of this vital ocean ecosystem. I give tremendous credit to DEC Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman, Transco Williams and, especially, the Broad Channel Civic Association for their leadership in these efforts.”

The addition of new reef building materials has also received positive feedback from local divers and fishermen. Dan Mundy, Jr. of Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, said, “The Rockaway Artificial Reef provides an amazing habitat for all types of marine life and a fantastic recreational destination for sport and commercial fishermen as well as scuba divers. The New York State DEC is to be commended for pursuing new permits and much needed enhancements at the site. When completed it will be a huge ecological benefit to this area and will provide additional recreational opportunities.”

The New York Artificial Reef Program is popular with many local fishermen and divers, and party charter boats. It enhances recreational opportunities and helps to support the local economy. Fishermen and divers who access the artificial reefs support local businesses through the purchase of fuel, bait and tackle, marine equipment, and by using for-hire charters and dive vessels.Facebookby feather