How could this new legislation affect Connecticut fishermen?
New York Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin has introduced a bill to divide Block Island Sound between New York and Rhode Island.
Currently, there is a federal area three miles out from Block Island, R.I.
Zeldin says, “For recreational anglers or charter boat captains, this shift in jurisdiction can mean the difference between a nice day on the water and committing a federal offense.”
The problem? Connecticut commercial fishermen wouldn’t be able to fish the waters.
Striped bass live in the waters of Block Island Sound, and it’s legal to fish the species in state waters but not federal waters. Zeldin says the change would keep anglers from unknowingly drifting into federal waters.
For Connecticut’s commercial fishermen, like lobstermen, that would mean they would not longer be able to obtain licenses, because New York and Rhode Island do not issue licenses to Connecticut fishermen.
In addition, many believe the rezoning would be bad for striped bass, because both New York and Connecticut allow commercial fishing of the species.
The bill has a long way to go before even being voted on in Congress.