Newsday.com has reported that seven Long Island towns have won a lawsuit against the New York Department of Conservation (DEC) which prevents the agency from requiring that recreational anglers obtain a saltwater fishing license to fish town waters.
New York's saltwater license law took effect in October of 2009 requiring anglers older than 16 to get a $10 license before fishing the state's coastal waters. The towns of East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island, Brookhaven, Southold, Huntington and Oyster Bay opposed the law arguing it encroached on their pre-existing authority to regulate town waters; patent rights the towns have enjoyed since colonial days. The decision by State Supreme Court Justice Patrick A. Sweeney said those rights give the seven towns full control over their fisheries.
According to Newsday, the decision stated "Concerning the issuance of a saltwater fishing license, the statute as applied to the respective plaintiffs is in violation of the rights of the people of the respective Towns and may not be enforced upon those who seek to fish in the waters regulated by the respective towns."