NYS Legislature Passes Menhaden Bill & “Don’t let GE off the hook”

From RiverKeeper:

RiverKeeper: “NY Legislature passes menhaden bill: ‘The public is
stepping up to protect these fish’
The New York State Senate today passed legislation to prevent the use of “purse seines,” the enormous nets being used by industrial fishing
operations, to harvest Atlantic menhaden (also known as “bunker”) in
New York State waters. The Assembly passed the measure on Monday
 (A.2571/S.2317). The bill goes to Governor Cuomo’s office for his
signature.
George Jackman, Riverkeeper Habitat Restoration Manager, said:
“Well done, New York. Protecting menhaden is absolutely essential for
supporting life in the Hudson and the coastal Atlantic, and this law sends an important message.
Menhaden, also known locally as “bunker,” are at risk from
overfishing. Enormous purse seine nets can capture giant schools of
menhaden,
along with other marine life swept up as “bycatch” – bluefish, striped
bass, river herring, shad, maybe even dolphin. This industrial level of fishing is mining vast numbers of menhaden from the sea to grind them into fish meal and fish oil, without regard to their important role in the
ecosystem. “
Photo: Gene Helfman

Menhaden are a critical species for the Hudson River and the coastal
Atlantic. They filter algae and are the preferred prey for whales, striped
bass, bluefish, tuna, sharks, cod, and more, but if an industrial fishery has its way, their population will be further decimated. If striped bass cannot
feed on menhaden, they will shift to herring and shad — disrupting the
food webs of the Hudson River and the coastal Atlantic even further. 
Iconic species like whales and dolphins are being seen just outside New
York Harbor. They are here for the menhaden. If menhaden are
overfished in our coastal waters, we can expect whales and dolphin to
move on.”

EPA and GE: ACTION

RiverKeeper: Join us in urging EPA Regional Administrator Pete
Lopez to issue a “not protective” determination in the Five Year
Review and to withhold the Certificate of Completion until the job is
truly done. Send a personalized message here.
The EPA must not let GE walk away from cleaning up the rest of its mess
in the Hudson River. Right now, EPA is finalizing its Five Year Review of
the Superfund cleanup and considering whether to issue a Certificate of
Completion for the work done to date. If EPA grants the Certificate of
Completion, it risks letting GE off the hook and leaving New Yorkers with a river that will be contaminated for decades to come. In December 2018, New York State released a report showing that significant PCB
contamination remains in the Upper Hudson River. And, recent findings
from the Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees indicate that PCBs in
the Hudson are harming the native mink population. Another study,
commissioned by Riverkeeper and our partners, shows that it could take much longer for fish in the Hudson River to recover from the PCB
contamination than EPA originally anticipated. EPA must hold GE
accountable for its toxic PCB pollution by issuing a “not protective”
determination in the Five Year Review and withholding the Certificate of Completion until the job is truly done. EPA Regional Administrator Pete
Lopez isn’t some distant bureaucrat in Washington, DC — he lives in our
region and is a former member of the New York State Assembly. He has
the power to ensure that EPA’s final decisions reflect the reality that more work needs to be done to clean up the Hudson River. He needs to hear
from you.

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