Rocco is a 23 year old construction manager and recreational fisher from Long Island, NY. He’s fished in the Great South Bay, Long Island Island Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean since he was a kid. He knows more about what goes on in the fishing world here than anyone I’ve ever met:
So how have you seen the sizes of fish you catch change, if at all, since you were a kid?
“I wouldn’t say that I’ve seen much of a size differential in my catches over my lifetime, but that number of larger fishes has definitely decreased across the board for all species in our area.”
How have the rules and regulations changed over the years for the fish you’re going for? And in your opinion, how well enforced are these rules?
“Personally I believe that most of the regulations need to be reformed. I say this because I believe that it should have more common sense of reasonable fisherman like myself intwined into the science. I feel this way because all of the fish that are available in our waters have times where a large mass of fish are an easy target for over-fishing. There’s also the need to not interfere too severely with the people who make their living off of the oceans. This definitely makes creating regulations a strenuous task, but I strongly believe that it could be made easier by brainstorming ideas from level-headed fishermen. Personally, I believe in very small cree limits and long seasons. This would allow people to target any fish they wanted but only harvest a small amount of fish. Because in reality, how much fish can one person eat.
Regulations have changed pretty drastically since I’ve started fishing where cree limits on fish like Seabass used to be 25, where now they’re between 5 and 10. And Porgy’s were ridiculous, 40 fish per person. This trend went straight across the board and seemed to be unsustainable. Nowadays regulations are a little more in tune with things such as, when fish are vulnerable and need to be left alone, and more reasonable limits. However, I do feel there’s room for a positive impact on both the fish and the fishermen.
I believe that we need more enforcement of our regulations by authorities such as the DEC and CoastGuard. I say this because I myself have herd of poaching crimes on the water that go unpunished. Ive only been boarded twice by the DEC in New York, which is absolutely ridiculous in comparison to the amount of times I’ve been out fishing in New York waters. Tons of fish are being taken illegally and there’s not much anyone is doing about it.”
Last question, have you seen more people fishing and boating where you go, or less in general?
“In my opinion the number of boaters out on the water has decreased due to the recent economic problems and high fuel prices since 2010, but the recent rebound in the economy and drop in fuel prices may lead to a spike in that number. On the fishermen side, I believe there has been a steady increase in the amount of people fishing for the entirety of my career.”