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Contact: Paula Valentine, 631-687-4759
Contact: Michael Bilecki, 631-687-4760
Patchogue, New York—Fire Island National Seashore is among 21 National Park Service (NPS) areas nominated for inclusion in the National System of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This program is managed by the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of the Interior (DOI). NOAA is accepting public comments on the nominations through February 22, 2010.
The MPA nomination for Fire Island National Seashore (FIIS) was submitted by the NPS. The park was identified in 2003 as a potential MPA, meeting the definition described in the Framework for the National System of Marine Protected Areas of the United States. The Framework was developed in response to Executive Order 13158 on Marine Protected Areas, which requires DOI and NOAA to jointly develop the National System. "Inclusion in the National System does not change how we currently manage the park," stated FIIS Superintendent Chris Soller, "nor will it interfere with our current General Management Planning process." The enabling legislation for FIIS authorizes hunting, fishing, and shellfishing in accordance with New York State and federal laws.
As stated in the January 7, 2010 Federal Register notice announcing the nomination of Fire Island National Seashore and other sites, "Joining the national system does not restrict or require changes affecting … management of existing MPAs. It does not establish new regulatory authority or interfere with the exercise of existing agency authorities. The national system is a mechanism to foster great collaboration among participating MPA sites and programs to enhance stewardship in the waters of the United States."
The purpose of the National System of MPAs is to enhance public recognition of ocean and coastal parks; strengthen the management, protection and conservation of existing marine protected areas; and reinforce interagency cooperation. More information about MPAs and the nomination process can be found at www.mpa.gov. Public comments about nominations may be sent by mail, e-mail, or fax to NOAA's MPA Center.
For more information about Fire Island National Seashore, visit the park's web site at www.nps.gov/fiis.