The New York Coalition for Recreational Fisherman began as a grass roots organization comprised of local recreational anglers. It was back in the spring of 2005 when many of these anglers first learned of a new bill in the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate that would control motor vehicle access to all New York State beaches and would restrict this access under the guise of coastal erosion control. This piece of legislation (A9165) was introduced to the Assembly by NYS Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a Democrat from Westchester County. It soon became known as the “Brodsky Bill” as more anglers became aware of its potential impact. The “Brodsky Bill” was a direct assault on all recreational beach driving.
Many in the fishing community told us not to worry, as this bill was not going anywhere. However, they were wrong, the bill made it through the NYS Assembly. This created great concern among local fisherman and they knew they needed to organize and take action before the Assembly reconvened several months later.
Our goal was to educate the fishing and beach driving community about the premise of this piece of legislation. Meetings were held with local fishing clubs and associations so we could stop this bill in its tracks. As members of our communities got together many ideas were introduced to combat the “Brodsky Bill.” Everyone at these meetings pitched in to help because they realized how much this bill would negatively affect the surf fishing and beach driving community.
Packets of information and letters were sent to all members of the NYS Assembly and meetings with key Legislators were held to stop this bill from becoming law. Eventually the bill lost its momentum and political backing and was withdrawn due to its unpopularity among the voting/fishing public.
Many members of the recreational fishing community realized after defeating this bill that there is “strength in numbers”, and decided to keep this grass roots coalition together. We kept meeting on a regular basis and soon developed a set of by-laws, a mission statement and became involved in developing the first “Long Island Fishing Expo” to raise necessary monies to fight for the rights of the recreational fisherman.
Today we are proudly called the New York Coalition for Recreational Fishing, Inc., a tax exempt 501(c)(6) organization. We meet every two months and we are working together for the betterment of recreational fishing in the State of New York.
|Willie Young, the founder and inaugural president of the New York Coalition For Recreational Fishing, was a titan of the recreational community and one of New York’s leading advocates for fishing access and the protection of marine resources.
A prolific fisherman in his own right, Young held leadership roles in many organizations beyond our own, including the Montauk Surfcasters Association, where he served as president; the High Hill Striper Club and the Coastal Conservation Association of New York. Young also held numerous positions as a fishing adviser to the County and State Advisory Boards.
He would lead annual trips to Albany to speak with state senators and assemblymen about the importance of marine conservation. In 2013, he was presented with the New York State Outstanding Environmentalist Award on behalf of the New York State Assembly. His tireless advocacy and public service continued for decades, even as his health declined.
The New York Coalition For Recreational Fishing — and all of New York’s fishermen and those who share its waters — owe Willie Young a great debt. We strive to carry on his tenacious efforts for future generations.
President: Ross Squire
Vice-President: Ralph Vigmostad
Treasurer: Neil Rothkopf
Secretary: Rob Lucia