(Long Island, NY) On Tuesday, June 7, 2016, Congressman Lee Zeldin’s (R, NY-1) EEZ Transit Zone Clarification Act (HR 3070) unanimously passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. You can watch passage of the bill here. The Congressman’s bill, which passed the House Natural Resources Committee with unanimous support on Wednesday, March 15, 2016, would clarify federal laws governing the management of the striped bass fishery in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between Montauk, New York, and Block Island, Rhode Island, permitting striped bass fishing in these waters.
Between New York State waters, which end three miles off of Montauk Point, New York, and the Rhode Island boundary, which begins three miles off of Block Island, there is a small area of federally controlled water that is considered part of the EEZ. The EEZ, which extends up to 200 miles from the coast, are waters patrolled by the Coast Guard, where the United States has exclusive jurisdiction over fisheries and other natural resources. Striped bass fishing has been banned in the EEZ since 1990. Congressman Zeldin’s EEZ Transit Zone Clarification Act would authorize the Secretary of Commerce to open this area to striped bass fishing.
On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, the House Natural Resources Committee hosted a hearing on the bill in Congress. Congressman Zeldin also co-hosted a House Natural Resources Committee field hearing in Riverhead, NY, with Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT). The hearing, which was titled, “Restoring Atlantic Fisheries and Protecting the Regional Seafood Economy,” was held on December 7, 2015 to discuss important local fishing issues. Congressman Zeldin’s EEZ Transit Zone Clarification Act was discussed and Chairman Bishop was able to hear first-hand the concerns of those on Long Island who rely upon fishing as an occupation and way of life.
Congressman Zeldin said, “Long Island fishermen are faced with many issues; one of the most pressing is the urgent need to clarify the federal regulations regarding striped bass fishing in the small area of federally controlled waters between Montauk Point and Block Island. Long Island striped bass fishermen have lost 60% of their traditional fishing grounds due to federal restrictions that my bill would reform. Additionally, the shift in jurisdiction can mean the difference between a nice day on the water and committing a federal offense. Fishing is an important industry on Long Island, but it’s getting more and more difficult for business owners to survive. Fishermen are desperately pleading for common sense relief and the EEZ Transit Zone Clarification Act is just one way that Congress can help. I am excited to see this bill pass the House with such strong bipartisan support. I will continue working to get this bill signed into law.”