Shelter Island Reporter editorials

Where are the feds?
We congratulate Gov. Andrew Cuomo for taking seriously the collapse of the scallop fishery this fall by calling on the federal government to pay attention and act.

The governor called on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to declare what’s happening a “commercial fishery failure” and to provide direct economic relief to the New York fishing industry.

Everyone on the East End should be watching carefully the pro-business Trump administration’s response to this business catastrophe.

The loss of 90 to 100% of adult bay scallops between last spring and this fall in local bays should concern not just East Enders, but the nation as a whole. If the scallops are the canaries in the coal mine, warning us of further marine changes to come, it’s time for action.

Among the plausible causes of the die-off, experts have told us, are rising water temperatures in our shallow bays and low dissolved oxygen levels. Experts don’t think some unknown disease is the culprit. What is certain is this: Over the past summer, water temperatures in part of the western end of the Peconic Bay reached as high as 85 degrees, temperature you would experience vacationing on a tropical island, not here in the Northeast.

The phrase “climate change” irritates a large number of Americans. They don’t believe in it because they’re told not to believe in it, and faithfully believe the people who told them, regardless of how inane their falsehoods. Millions of Americans believe the moon landing in 1969 was faked, and that President Obama wasn’t born in America. Yes, millions.

Human activity is negatively affecting our climate. It’s a matter of fact that startling changes in the marine ecology — from water temperatures to rising sea levels — are underway and happening right in front of us. Because of their shape and size, Shelter Island and the North and South forks will experience dramatic changes as sea levels continue to rise.

We hope Mr. Ross takes the governor’s concerns seriously and begins to immediately help our baymen and all businesses connected to the fishing industry here. And that the Trump administration stops playing politics with the fate of our home region, and the planet.

One of the defining aspects of the age is that many of us are in a constant state of busyness, going from one task to the other and forgetting other obligations.

We’re sure that’s the reason Supervisor-elect Gerry Siller has resisted all requests to speak to the Reporter. Beginning on Election Night, Mr. Siller said he would like to talk with us.

We promised it wouldn’t take much time and we wouldn’t ask him to lock himself into any position, but allow him to present his vision of the Island’s future. We asked several times, noting we could do a phone interview or face-to-face.

But, no. Last we heard from Mr. Siller, he said he’d like to wait until he’s sworn in to speak with us.

Fine. We know how busy people can be.