Report Highlights Need for Expanded Ocean Funding, Stronger
National Resources Defense Council
Posted February 1, 2005
NEW YORK (February 1, 2006) -- A new report released
this week highlights important steps New York should take
to protect and restore valuable fresh and saltwater resources.
The findings buttress Governor Pataki's decision to include
a new Ocean and Great Lakes Category in the expanded Environmental
Protection Fund (EPF) proposed in his recently announced
budget and encourage increased attention to the health
of our state's water resources, according to the Natural
Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
The report compiles results from the Governor's New York
State Ocean and Great Lakes Symposium, which was attended
by a diverse group of more than 100 marine resource experts
along with representatives from business, academic and
research institutions, state and local governments, and
non-governmental organizations. The daylong event sought
better ways to protect New York's ocean, bays, and Great
Lakes, which together support thousands of jobs in hundreds
of communities across the state.
In a letter to legislative leaders, NRDC and a dozen
other groups yesterday voiced support for Pataki's proposal,
and urged the Legislature to increase the funding for
this new category to $10 million and expand the overall
EPF to $200 million.
"New York's ocean and coastal areas supply us with
good food, great recreation and valuable jobs. But these
resources are in a state of silent crisis caused by pollution,
destruction of productive marine habitat, and overfishing,"
said Sarah Chasis, director of NRDC's Ocean Initiative.
More than 40 percent of New York's important estuary
and bay waters are impaired or threatened, and many of
New York's most important commercial and recreational
saltwater fish and shellfish are either depleted or are
being harvested at unsustainable rates. The total weight
of seafood landed in New York State is only a quarter
of what it was 20 years ago.
In addition to explicitly highlighting the need for an
expanded EPF, the report identifies a number of other
key policy actions the state should take, including incorporating
more comprehensive resources management approaches; creating
a system to manage New York's increasing offshore energy
development pressures; and better policies to protect
and restore marine habitats and the species that live
in them. The report also calls for a permanent interagency
Ocean and Great Lakes Council to help coordinate state
decision-making and achieve these various objectives.
"Governor Pataki has taken an important step to
protect these resources by holding the Symposium and creating
a new Ocean and Great Lakes Category in his budget,"
said Chasis. "We encourage the Legislature to build
on this financial commitment and to embrace the ideas
for strengthened ocean management outlined in the Symposium