Cuomo’s Fan Mail for a Flounder: Commerce Lawsuit Threatened

Photograph by John Moore/Getty Images

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces a new bill with tougher penalties for texting while driving at a press conference at the Javits convention center on May 31, 2013 in New York City.

First, it was yogurt.

Then it was beer and wine.

Now, it’s flounder that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing as the latest way to boost New York’s economy.

At a press briefing in Long Island’s Montauk today, the Democrat warned that he’ll sue the U.S. Commerce Department if it doesn’t stop fishing around with the limit on the Empire State’s annual flounder catch.

“The commercial and recreational fishing industries are a major economic engine in Long Island and New York State, but they are being unfairly limited by these outdated bureaucratic regulations,” Cuomo said in an e-mailed statement. “The U.S. Department of Commerce needs to reform the status quo, and if they don’t, our state will have no choice but to go to court to defend New York’s commercial recreational fishing industries.”

Summer flounder, Cuomo maintains, is one of the most important species for commercial fishing in New York, with 1.4 million pounds valued at $3.4 million hauled in by fisherman in 2011. It could have been almost triple that amount if the Commerce Department increased New York’s flounder allocation to reflect what’s allowed by neighboring states like New Jersey, he contends.

Flounder is the latest niche industry that Cuomo is pushing to grow the state’s economy. Last year, he held a summit on yogurt to find ways to lift the state’s dairy industry with the boom in the Greek version of the fermented milk product.

Regulation changes that followed the summit allowing farms to add more cows before costly regulations kick in are now tied up in lawsuit over the 1 billion pounds in manure the larger herds would produce.

He followed the yogurt summit with one on wine and beer, and then another on tourism.

There’s no word on a flounder summit.

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