Bill Text: NY A07135 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Requires regulations and the implementation of a trout stocking pilot program across the state.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-04-10 - referred to environmental conservation [A07135 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A07135-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                     April 10, 2019
        Introduced  by M. of A. WOERNER -- read once and referred to the Commit-
          tee on Environmental Conservation
        AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to trout
          stocking practices of the department of environmental conservation
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1.  Short  title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
     2  the "healthy coldwater fisheries act".
     3    § 2. Legislative findings. 1. New York state has a rich history  as  a
     4  freshwater  sports  fishing  destination. In particular, coldwater trout
     5  fisheries, such as the West branch of the Ausable river and the  Beaver-
     6  kill  river, are cited as birthplaces of modern trout fishing.  Further-
     7  more, New York has the second highest number of anglers  in  the  United
     8  States.  Our  state's  fisheries generate $2.7 billion in revenues, each
     9  year.
    10    2. Climate change and habitat degradation pose imminent threats to the
    11  viability of these fisheries and  the  local  economies  dependent  upon
    12  them.    Specifically,  increases  in peak water temperatures cause fish
    13  mortality, and over time, marginalize once-viable trout habitat.
    14    3. Current state hatchery stocking practices have not kept  pace  with
    15  other  states  in  the  northeastern  United States, whom have developed
    16  brood stocks of trout from holdover  and  wild  stream-bred  trout  with
    17  higher thermal tolerances. As a result, many in-state fishermen increas-
    18  ingly seek out-of-state fishing opportunities.
    19    4.  Modernizing trout stocking practices would likely decrease burdens
    20  on state hatcheries, by producing trout with greater survival character-
    21  istics.
    22    5. Under the aegis of the department  of  environmental  conservation,
    23  there  is  merit  and value in establishing modern hatchery practices to
    24  ensure the future health of our coldwater fisheries.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 7135                             2
     1    § 3. The environmental conservation law is amended  by  adding  a  new
     2  section 11-0508 to read as follows:
     3  § 11-0508. Survivor strain trout stocking program.
     4    1.  No  later  than  December  thirty-first,  two thousand twenty, the
     5  department shall promulgate regulations on the trout  hatchery  breeding
     6  and  stocking  practices  in  the  waters of the state, to develop brood
     7  stock with higher thermal and survival characteristics. Such regulations
     8  shall require state trout hatcheries to: (a) not less  than  once  every
     9  three  years,  collect eggs and rear brood-stock trout from wild, stream
    10  born trout and holdover trout,  particularly  those  trout  with  higher
    11  thermal tolerances, and develop broods of hatchery trout with potential-
    12  ly  higher  thermal tolerances and survival characteristics; (b) develop
    13  hatchery practices to encourage greater genetic diversity  and  survival
    14  characteristics  among  hatchery  trout;  and (c) identify certain water
    15  bodies, or portions thereof, that would benefit from the development  of
    16  trout  brood  stocks with higher thermal tolerances and survival charac-
    17  teristics in potentially marginal habitats. Such  regulations  shall  be
    18  protective of native and heritage strain brook trout populations.
    19    2.  No  later  than  December  thirty-first,  two thousand twenty, the
    20  department shall make publicly available, on its website,  the  findings
    21  of  a  report on trout stocking practices within the state. Such reports
    22  shall discuss, at a minimum: (a) comparisons with other  state  stocking
    23  practices  in  the  northeastern  United  States; (b) potential adaptive
    24  stocking measures  to  promote  trout  survival  in  thermally  marginal
    25  waters;  (c)  potential  stream  habitat restoration measures to promote
    26  trout survival in thermally marginal waters; (d) public  outreach  meas-
    27  ures  to  promote  practices  that could improve trout survival, such as
    28  proper trout handling and catch-and-release; (e) identification of ther-
    29  mally marginal water bodies that  would  benefit  from  developing  more
    30  resilient and modern stocking practices; and (f) recommended regulations
    31  on  trout  stocking  practices  to  promote  increased fish survival and
    32  reproductive viability.
    33    3. No later than December twenty-first, two thousand  twenty-one,  the
    34  department shall implement a pilot program in at least five water bodies
    35  for stocking "survivor strain" hatchery trout reared from wild and hold-
    36  over  trout with higher thermal tolerances and survival characteristics,
    37  pursuant to subdivision one of this section. Such  pilot  program  shall
    38  include:  (a)  one water body within the Hudson river watershed; (b) one
    39  water body within the St. Lawrence river watershed; (c) one  water  body
    40  within the Delaware river watershed; (d) one water body within the Gene-
    41  see  river  watershed;  and  (e)  one water body within Nassau county or
    42  Suffolk county. Such stockings shall be done in a manner  protective  of
    43  native and heritage strain brook trout populations.
    44    § 4. This act shall take effect immediately.