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Island Diving
May 16th, 2012, 04:22 PM
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May 16, 2012
Hi Folks,

Most New York area divers are probably aware that over the last year there has been quite a bit of confusion, and the usual internet chatter, regarding New York State spearfishing laws. Scrutiny of existing law came as the result of new legislation that was introduced pertaining to Striped Bass spearfishing only, and in the process of examining existing law it was discovered that current regulations are practically impossible to interpret. While it seems clear that spearfishing for gamefish in NY waters is perfectly legal, there is a gray area surrounding the use of spearguns, so much so that the NYSDEC has not been willing to issue a formal statement as to the legality of their use. While there are currently no enforcement efforts being made, there have also been no apparent efforts to clarify the regulations.

Considering the 60 plus year history of spearfishing with spearguns in NY State and elsewhere, and the fact that spearfishing is considered to be the most environmentally friendly method of harvesting fish, with virtually no by-catch or unwanted mortality, we decided that it was time to make an effort to clarify the regulations and protect spearfisher's rights, once and for all.

We approached New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele and explained the situation, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that he was already aware of our predicament, and more important, he was eager to help. He asked us point blank what would make us happy, a very simple question to answer. All we wanted was a new law that made it quite clear that spearguns were legal to recreationally harvest all species of marine gamefish in New York. All other regulations pertaining to size and season would remain exactly the same as those pertaining to our brothers and sisters using a rod and reel. Working with Assemblyman Thiele's Executive Assistant Laura Stephenson, we crafted a new Bill that would do just that, and we are pleased to announce that Assemblyman Thiele recently introduced Bill A10109 (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001Bowy8ixEa8C2Q6J2ugkIvpEBOmfdD0I4X_G0zP 4ULKXgLpweRZ8Bmz8xYFUymlD5kfFl-2KJWLUvFay5NUieGOPdC83WdKMr_Wy0uhsy8R7JUXCJ0ZVQbDZ ezAYTgvZS-JPa2w8K1Y5LrLBvdfDw6seXYKVZiIVMCy4b7HmNU2fnse-J2zlfFR6RPdvl87_W-8ko7Ux_IWbhyvHo0nQWdAFvWGkvXDqu) in the New York State Assembly.

This is great news for the entire dive community, from us divers to the businesses that survive by providing us support, from dives shops and dive charter boats to equipment manufacturers. But it does not mean that our work is done, not by a long shot. Having a Bill introduced in the Assembly is just the beginning of the process, and we need your help to push this down the road. At this time we need the dive community to rally 'round and help us find a sponsor in the New York State Senate, and to make your voice heard by all of your elected officials. At some point in the future this Bill will come up for a vote, and our efforts will be critical in determining its success.

You can use these links to find the contact information for your elected officials. Please get in touch with them as soon as possible and let them know that protecting a diver's right to use a speargun is important to you. Original mailed letters are the most effective way to do so, but if your schedule will not allow you to do this then emails and phone calls are effective too. If all else fails you could simply forward this email to your State Representatives in the Assembly and the Senate, I'm sure that they will get the idea.


New York State Senate (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001Bowy8ixEa8A8RsUmpGaTCKgD86-7NjwrFt9dayUvXc-OQyl9ZD65-SV0P0X9Ijc9v-YpW_mfeFmfZn7LY576lTZq9NtGZ-VQPwHbzZi4-Q9bQOsgcyKHo794BjTiZJ-toB_tf-TG2xSMLXQK_ljqHg==)



New York State Assembly (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001Bowy8ixEa8Aje3FTVw2RzuhxD3C97Ts6MXHIlk 1fV7FT_IzlC82W204NA-PJ_WRfJR-CFXDyUlRivooW0NvaYDQFrVF9iWDoV3bDprMtTZzD7rCMkL27j rnNdO24ipNPgF2pQ3WKR6rcRWQRENNRww==)



For more information, see our feature article in the June issue of Northeast Dive News


Bill Pfeiffer
Editor
Northeast Dive News

klauricella
May 17th, 2012, 08:59 AM
Any chance of also making it legal to freshwater spearfish. It is legal in many other states.

Thanks
Kevin

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

AfterDark
May 17th, 2012, 09:43 AM
I got this this AM and was about to post it glad to see it's been out there already. Diving in NY and not knowing it isn't hard to do around the RI,CT,NY boarders Fishers Island for example is NY waters even though it looks to me it should be CT. IMO if a law can't be understood by the average person than if can't be a law or at least shouldn't be.

Scrutiny of existing law came as the result of new legislation that was introduced pertaining to Striped Bass spearfishing only, and in the process of examining existing law it was discovered that current regulations are practically impossible to interpret. While it seems clear that spearfishing for gamefish in NY waters is perfectly legal, there is a gray area surrounding the use of spearguns, so much so that the NYSDEC has not been willing to issue a formal statement as to the legality of their use. While there are currently no enforcement efforts being made, there have also been no apparent efforts to clarify the regulations.

Island Diving
May 17th, 2012, 12:49 PM
Any chance of also making it legal to freshwater spearfish. It is legal in many other states.

Thanks
Kevin

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

Kevin, you can spearfish in some fresh waters in NYS, but not many, and not for gamefish. DEC sets these regulations, so if you want to change them, that would be the place to start. If that fails, it's time to seek out sympathetic legislators! I am more than willing to help you pursue this...


The taking of fish by spear is permitted only as follows:


In Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties, suckers may be taken in any stream from January 1 through May 15.
In Montgomery County, suckers may be taken from January 1 through May 15 from Evas Kill, Flat Creek, Canajoharie Creek from the mouth to the dam one half mile above the mouth and Caroga Creek.
In Otsego County, suckers may be taken from January 1 through May 15 from Herkimer Creek, Hyder Creek, Trout (Mink) Creek, Hayden Creek from mouth to the Shipman Pond Dam, Shadow Brook, Sand Hill Creek from the mouth to Rte. 7 bridge, Otsdawa Creek from the mouth to Rte. 7 bridge and Mill Creek from the mouth to Rte. 7 bridge.
In Clinton County, bowfin, burbot, carp, freshwater drum, gar, redhorse and suckers may be taken from March 20 through September 30 from Corbeau Creek and Scomotion Creek from the mouth upstream to Beekmantown town line.
In Lake Champlain, bowfin, burbot, carp, freshwater drum, gar, redhorse and suckers may be taken from March 20 through September 30.
In Cayuga County, bullhead and sucker may be taken from January 1 through May 15 from Sterling Creek downstream of Rte. 104A, Sterling Valley Creek downstream of Rte. 104A, Eightmile Creek and Ninemile Creek.
In Franklin County, bowfin, burbot, carp, freshwater drum, gar, redhorse and suckers may be taken from March 20 through September 30 from Big Salmon River from Canada upstream to the dam at Fort Covington, Lawrence Brook from the county line upstream to County Rte. 6 west of Moira, Little Salmon River from the mouth upstream to County Rte. 32 in South Bombay, Pike Creek from Canada upstream to State Rte. 95 west of Bombay, St. Regis River from Canada upstream to the dam at Hogansburg and Farrington Brook from the mouth upstream to U.S. Rte. 11.
In the Hudson River, carp and suckers may be taken from March 20 through September 30 from Bakers Falls in the Village of Hudson Falls upstream to the confluence of Stony Creek in Warren County.
In Oswego County, bullhead and suckers may be taken from January 1 through May 15 from Grindstone Creek downstream of the dam at Fernwood, Little Salmon River downstream from the bridge at Arthur, Ninemile Creek downstream of Rte. 104A, Eightmile Creek downstream of Rte.104A, Salmon River downstream of NY Rte. 3, Red Creek or Sunset Bay Creek, Otter Branch Creek, Butterfly Creek, Sage Creek and Snake Creek.
In Wayne County, bullhead and suckers may be taken from January 1 through May 15 from Black Creek Bay and Red Creek Bay.

Spearfishing Prohibited

Spear guns are prohibited from use in the freshwaters of New York.
Spears may not be used within 275 yards of eel weirs.
Spears may not be possessed on any water in the Adirondack Park or within 200 feet of the high water mark of these waters
Possession of spears is prohibited on all waters except where the taking of fish by spear is permitted.


Bill Pfeiffer
Editor
Northeast Dive News

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