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Robert K. Sweeney
Assembly District 11
Chair, Environmental Conservation Committee
Sport Fishing Education and Aquaculture Center Ribbon Cutting
February 5, 2003

The official ribbon cutting for the Sport Fishing Education Center and Aquaculture Facility was held recently at Cedar Beach Marina on Ocean Parkway in the Town of Babylon.

Funds to construct the Sport Fishing Education and Aquaculture Center will provide an arena in which to promote saltwater recreational fishing while also teaching angling ethics, including catch and release fishing. "Bob Sweeney has been a strong advocate for the wise use of our coastal resources”, says Dr. Jack Mattice, Director of New York Sea Grant, a coastal research and education group affiliated with the Center. “His support of this Center is an extension of his previous efforts and will help develop a new generation of informed fishermen and women.” The goal of the Sport Fishing Education and Aquaculture Center is to educate coastal communities, especially youths, about our marine resources and ecosystems, and to help them develop a heightened awareness of the value of the marine environment.

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Marine Program has developed an educational curriculum for school groups that would come to the Center as well as outreach programs where Center staff would go into schools. This curriculum will be offered beginning in January and covers many New York State standards as set forth by the State Department of Education.

The Sport Fishing and Aquaculture Center will house a fishing museum that exhibits the development in fishing tackle over the years. A fishing library is also planned. The Center will operate a rod and reel loaner program to allow more people to participate in the sport.

Several groups with environmental interests affiliated with the Center are working together to coordinate program and outreach development. They include Sport Fishing Alliance LTD, Recreational Fishing Alliance, NY Sportfishing Federation, Long Island Beach Buggy Association, The Fisherman, Coastal Conservation Association, NY, New York Sea Grant, NYS DEC “I Fish NY”, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County Marine Program.

Hofstra University professor of marine biology Dr. Gene Kaplan has constructed a re-circulating aquaculture demonstration laboratory. The demonstration lab will be used to determine the feasibility of rearing finfish species for the marketplace, in lieu of harvesting the natural resources. The aquaculture research at this facility may set the groundwork for a future finfish restocking plan. Aquaculture may serve as a partial solution to reversing the decline in populations of popular species.

For more information on the Center call 631-587-2873.

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