Support Responsible Aquaculture, Keep Our Bays Safe And Navigable!
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We support the Suffolk County Aquaculture Lease Program (SCALP) with its goals of cleaner water and economic opportunity for fishermen through shellfish cultivation within Peconic Bay and Gardiner's Bay. However, the use of floating oyster cultivation gear may jeopardize public navigation rights and safety, and destroy our scenic open-water vistas. We are concerned that leases with floating gear appear to violate a variety of federal, state and local laws and policies, as well as the Public Trust Doctrine. We note that New York State legislation does not authorize the County to lease surface waters, but rather charges the County to manage and control a program of leases for "lands under water."
We are fundamentally opposed to the granting of exclusive private leases using floating installations that blockade our precious public waters that are known to be heavily used by boaters, creating unnecessary conflicts and hazards to navigation. Further, we are concerned that additional lease sites were approved in 2018 in areas with known user conflicts, despite credible objections from knowledgeable local users of the bay.
- Our County government and the SCALP 10-Year Review Advisory Committee must be accountable to all constituents (residents, boaters, marina operators, fisherman and oyster growers), and those groups must be directly represented on the Advisory Committee.
- The 10-Year Review should reevaluate all existing lease sites, and existing/awarded leases using surface gear in conflicted locations in Gardiner's Bay should either change to bottom-sited cultivation methods or be relocated.
- The program should predominantly authorize use of aquaculture equipment that rests on the bottom, as originally specified. However, use of some surface systems could be appropriate in areas that have been certified by other user groups as being conflict-free.
Working together we can ensure the success of a bottom-based aquaculture program and limit the use of surface gear to areas that don't deprive others from their right to use the bay.
Learn more at: citizensofgardinersbay.org
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