HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. – Suffolk County Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory’s Marine Industry Revitalization Advisory Council held back-to-back public hearings in Hauppauge, on February 6, and Riverhead on February 7, on an information fact-finding mission to hear ideas and concerns from those whose businesses and livelihoods are dependent on the 300 bodies of water in the County.
Each two-hour public hearing, brought forth a broad-range of issues from marina owners and operators, commercial fishermen and baymen, aquaculture farmers, recreational boaters and fishermen, and home and boat owners who spoke of much needed dredging projects to keep the waterways safe and silt sights for disposal.
Speakers, who discussed everything from boating safety and educational courses for those using the waterways, to the cost for permits to allow shucking events and a growing need for maintaining the shoreline for commercial fish markets, offered insight about the unique issues facing those who live and work on or near the water.
Several of those who spoke, discussed aquaculture and the need for more awareness and investment in an industry they feel can result in more jobs, revenue and improvement in the environment.
“These hearings were certainly enlightening to me in many ways,” said Presiding Officer Gregory. “We live on an island and our needs are very different than other areas. There is a need to shape policy that will create the next generation of marine workers, support much-needed dredging projects and protect the fishing industry from deadly algal blooms.”
Presiding Officer Gregory said the next steps include bringing back the information to create an action plan to address the issues that were brought to the Advisory Council’s attention concerning the permitting process in the health department, monies for dredging, and working with the Department of Environmental Conservation to open up the window for dredging.
One effort to highlight the marine industry and explore the opportunities that exist, will be a Career Exploration day at the Suffolk County One-Stop Employment Center at 725 Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppauge that is planned for Tuesday, March 12 beginning at 9:30 am. A representative from the Presiding Officer’s Marine Industry Revitalization Advisory Council will be on hand to conduct an information session to discuss jobs within the marine industry, college courses and certificate programs, and apprenticeship opportunities.
Participants must be registered to attend. To reserve a spot, call (631) 853-6600 as space is limited.
The Marine Industry Revitalization Advisory Council was created last year through legislation sponsored by Presiding Officer Gregory and co-sponsored by Legislators Sarah Anker, Al Krupski and William Lindsay III.
Caption for above photo: Jeff Flumignan from the U.S. Department of Transportation addresses some of the dredging issues before the Marine Industry Revitalization Advisory Council and audience at the February 8 public hearing in Riverhead.