Get Involved in Marine Fisheries Citizen Science

Saltwater Fishing & Boating Newsletter


Female blue crab

As summer approaches, NYSDEC encourages everyone to get outside and participate in citizen science projects offered in the Marine and Coastal District. There are many opportunities to get involved in marine science research and conservation efforts. Being a citizen scientist offers hands-on experiences in data collection and research methods, while helping biologists collect and analyze essential data they use to make informed decisions to conserve important local marine species.
Consider getting involved in one of the projects offered below:

Blue Crab Tagging Program and Survey
NYSDEC is asking for the assistance of recreational crabbers in reporting their crab harvest and reporting any tagged crabs you may encounter. The information you provide will help us better manage the New York blue crab fishery.

Shark-Spotter Survey
Submit your observations of sharks in the wild! The observations you submit will help biologists record the presence of coastal sharks in New York State waters and will also help to further the understanding of local shark ecology and behavior.

Striped Bass Cooperative Angler Program
Do you want to have a more active role in the conservation and management of striped bass? Join the NYSDEC Striped Bass Cooperative Anglers Program (SBCA) and take part in an effort to help manage and maintain a healthy striped bass population.

Artificial Reef Fishing and Diving Survey
If you’re fishing or diving on one of New York’s artificial reefs, consider submitting a digital survey of your observations. All the information you provide is important supplemental reef monitoring data and helps NYSDEC effectively manage and enhance our artificial reefs.

Recreational Lobster Fishing Survey
Report your recreational harvest lobsters in New York’s marine waters. Information about your fishing trip such as, where and when you fished, what gear you used, and how many lobsters were caught help to assess the status of lobsters in the marine district.
*Recreational lobster permits are only available to New York State residents. Visit DEC’s web page on Lobster Permits for more information.
Fishery Observer Coverage Program Completed
Increased fishery observer coverage for New York through NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Observer Program (NEFOP) ended March 31, 2019.
This coverage was for commercial fishing vessels landing catch in New York. NOAA will continue to provide observers for federal trips as usual, but there will be no more coverage of state only permit holders at this time.
The goal of fishery observer trips was to collect information on protected species including marine mammals, sea turtles, and Atlantic sturgeon. The data will be used to improve bycatch estimates for these species and improve the management of other special interest, non-target fish species that have low or unknown stock status.
Share the Shore With Seals
Attention All Beachgoers! It is common this time of year to see seals on our local saltwater beaches, both in large groups or resting alone. Although seals are referred to as “sea dogs”, and it can be tempting to try and approach them, please remember they are wild animals and to keep your distance.

Seal on the beach

Even though seals can be extremely cute, they are equipped with sharp teeth and can carry communicable diseases. It is stressful for the animal to be approached by humans, and they may become aggressive, especially if their pups are nearby.
All marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, therefore, members of the public are instructed to remain at least 150 feet from a marine animal, both on land and at sea.
If you suspect a seal or other marine mammal is sick or abandoned, please call the New York Stranding Hotline at

631-369-9829 to report the animal. To learn more about safe seal-watching, visit NOAA’s Share the Shore Campaign.