To Fish or Not to Fish on the Ocean Ave. Footbridge? Assemblyman Cymbrowitz Seeks Answer to Conflicting Rules

October 26, 2016

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) is trying to get to the bottom of a contradiction in city and state regulations that has caused a danger to pedestrians and an odiferous nuisance on the Ocean Avenue footbridge.

The lawmaker said his office has received numerous complaints about people fishing on the bridge, which connects Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay and Shore Boulevard in Manhattan Beach. This is despite the presence of “No Fishing” signs posted by the New York City Department of Transportation in accordance with Section 19-168 of the New York City Administrative Code.

“Pedestrians and fisherman cannot co-exist safely on this narrow bridge,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. “People have reached out to my office complaining that they’re sidestepping spilled fish entrails and fish hooks. This is a hazardous, messy situation.”

The problem is that while the fishing ban seems clear, the reality is actually a bit murkier. The New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) lists the Ocean Avenue footbridge as a fishing location in its saltwater fishing guide, so the scofflaw fishermen say they have a right to be there.

Yesterday, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz reached out in a letter to DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos for clarification and asking him to reverse the agency’s policy if fishing on the footbridge is in fact allowed.

“I am requesting that if it is the position of NYS DEC to permit fishing on the bridge, that this policy should be reversed,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz wrote. “If no such policy exists, the location should be removed from the guide and explicitly marked as prohibited in DEC’s publications for the purpose of clarification.”

“If the dangers associated with fishing at this location persist, I ask that enforcement action be taken for the safety of the community,” he added.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz is currently awaiting a response from Commissioner Seggos.