Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Save The Clams Of The Great South Bay

Helping To Heal The World, One Crustacean At A Time

Our good friends at Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) are asking all of us to step up to help protect the clam population of Long Island's Great South Bay. [Hmmm. And here we thought Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate "Clambake" Murray had single-handedly taken care of those crusty critters. Save them? Kate said, "eat them!" Better clam up while we're ahead...]

Anyway, as a result of brown tide, and other delitorious environmental degradations, the clams are disappearing off Long Island's shores faster than Tom Suozzi's aides-de-camp are packing their belongings. (Did anyone stop to think it may be the property taxes? They've simply fled to the calmer waters of, say, South Carolina).

A word or two from this blog's readers could very well make the difference between survival and total annihilation  for Long Island's clam shelves (beware, oysters. You are next!), so take pen to paper, phone to ear, and lend your hand to the neighborhood clam!
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From Concerned Citizens for the Environment:

Save the Clams

Action Needed to Access Federal Funding

The hard clam population in the Great South Bay has been dramatically diminished since the 1970s. To make matters worse, in July of 2008 the South Shore Estuary Reserve was hit with the worst brown tide outbreak in history. In an effort to assist clammers and the restoration of the clam population, Senator Charles Schumer and Governor David Paterson submitted a request to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce urging him to declare a "Commercial Fishery Failure for Hard Clams in the Great South Bay." Over 15,000 signatures and 4,000 individual letters from members of the public were submitted to the Secretary of Commerce supporting the designation. The Secretary has received all the data requested and is posed to make a decision soon.

Now, we need your help again to request that the Secretary of Commerce sign the declaration of a "Commercial Fishery Failure for Hard Clams in the Great South Bay." This critical designation provides an opportunity for much-needed federal money to assist us in clam restoration and re-seeding efforts.

Recently, the NYS DEC submitted additional data regarding the clam population, the causative factors, and the economic impacts. These data highlight the clam population crash and its economic impact on our region. The DEC estimates that the "wholesale (dockside) value of the Great South Bay hard clam fishery at its peak landings in 1976 was approximately $12 million…this represented an estimated economic return of $51 million to the State’s economy." In 2008, the dockside value of the hard clams was at its lowest—a mere $600,000.

Vital research is needed to understand brown tide and to prevent future harmful outbreaks from occurring. Local and state partners have been working to restore the clam population and habitat in the Great South Bay; however, brown tide outbreaks threaten meaningful advances. The commercial fisheries declaration is necessary to protect and restore the clam population.

Please call or write to the Secretary of Commerce and ask that he immediately sign the declaration of a "Commercial Fishery Failure for Hard Clams in the Great South Bay on Long Island, NY".

This declaration will assist all of Long Island by allowing much-needed federal funds for research, restoration, and clam re-seeding efforts to occur in the Great South Bay. Clam restoration will not only assist our local fishermen but also will provide much-needed filtering of our estuarine waters and preserve our maritime history.

The Honorable Gary Locke
Secretary, US Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Phone: (202) 482-2000

Thank you for taking action. Together we make a difference!

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