|The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proud to present the latest episode of "On the Front Lines," the agency's video series profiling staff and their work to conserve the environment, protect New York's natural resources, and serve the public.
"We are proud of this series, which gives the public a behind-the-scenes look at the great work our dedicated employees do every day across the state to preserve and protect the environment for generations to come," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "It's also an opportunity for New Yorkers to get to know our employees and the reasons they chose careers at DEC. A special thanks to DEC Ship Captains Alan Fairbanks and Doug Zeller for their work operating and maintaining research vessels to study the aquatic life that inhabits New York's waters."
(link leaves DEC's website) can be viewed on DEC's YouTube channel.
Alan Fairbanks is the ship captain for the fisheries research vessel 'Seth Green,' out of Cape Vincent, NY. The Seth Green conducts biological assessments of fish on Lake Ontario to provide information necessary to manage the lake's resources. Fairbanks has always had an interest in boats and fishing, which makes his position at DEC an ideal fit.
Doug Zeller is the Research Vessel Captain for the 'Argo,' which is based at the Dunkirk Fisheries Station and conducts annual assessment of Lake Erie's fish stocks. Zeller, an Ohio native, started off as the head of a commercial fishing business before moving to New York.
Both Lake Ontario and Lake Erie are consistently ranked among the top fishing destinations in the country by national publications. Lake Ontario and its embayments and tributaries comprise more than 2.7 million acres and support thriving populations of fish, including a variety of trout, salmon, bass, walleye, yellow perch, and panfish.
A recent statewide angler survey estimated that more than 2.6 million angler days were spent on Lake Ontario and major tributaries. The estimated value of these fisheries exceeded $112 million annually to local economies.
Lake Erie, considered among the world's top bass and walleye fishing destinations, is one of the most heavily fished waters in the state, generating more than $26 million in economic activity annually.
As part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, which is aimed at increasing outdoor recreational opportunities in New York, the State is making significant improvements to DEC's fish hatchery system and waterway access facilities. Since 2014, $14 million in NY Works funding has been budgeted for hatchery improvements. Under the 2018-19 Executive Budget Proposal, New York's Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative provides $19.5 million for state land access projects and an additional $4 million for fish and wildlife infrastructure.
'On the Front Lines' is posted monthly on DEC's YouTube channel, and Twitter pages. Watch past episodes on DEC's YouTube channel (the previous links leave DEC's website).