Photos of the Long Island Sound

Issues & Actions

Fishers Island

Location: Fishers Island, NY

Anchor Site(s): Fishers Island Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Beds

About the Site: Fishers Island, nine-miles long and one-mile wide, is located on the eastern end of Long Island Sound. It is just two miles south of Connecticut, but 11 miles from the North Fork of Long Island.The long-term dispute between Connecticut and New York as to who owned the Island was settled in 1998 by a joint commission, with the Island being deemed New York territory. Fishers Island is home to nesting pairs of double-crested cormorant, herring gull, and greater black-backed gull, with rookeries right off the coast of the island. The New York Natural Heritage Program has documented several rare plant species on the island, and the Stewardship Area holds a valuable marine habitat as well. The surrounding waters are known for their eelgrass beds, which stretch over 194 acres and provide habitat for aquatic shellfish such as bay scallops, finfish, and crustacean species.

Ecological Importance

  • Fishers Island is designated as New York State Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat and its coastline contains 98 percent of the essential eelgrass meadows found in New York  waters. These eelgrass meadows provide habitat for finfish, shellfish, and crustacean species.
  • More than 90 species of bird have been documented breeding on Fishers Island including osprey, piping plover, and snowy egret.
  • The island has one of the largest nesting concentrations of the double-crested cormorant in New York and serves as a nesting area for least terns and a variety of shorebirds.
  • More than 45 rare plants have been documented by the New York Natural Heritage Program on Fishers Island, including saltmarsh aster, large calyx goosefoot, and fireweed.
  • A number of reptiles and amphibians are found on Fishers Island including spotted salamander and, historically, diamond-back terrapin and spotted turtles.

Recreational Opportunities

  • Take the ferry to Fishers Island and walk or bike around the Island or swim, snorkel, surf, and fish in its waters.
  • Dock your boat to Fishers Island to explore the surroundings.
  • Swim at one of Fishers Island’s two public beaches, “Dock Beach” and “South Beach”, on the west end of the island.
  • Rent a bike at Gold & Silver shop in town or bring your own bike over on the ferry (for a fee of course) and ride along the newly completed Fishers Island Recreational Path.
  • Tie up your boat at the Town of Southold dock or Pirates Cove Marina, both in in West Harbor.
  • Dive among the number of shipwrecks, mostly along the southeast shore of the island.
  • Fish in the waters around Fishers Island, especially in The Race which is located off the west end of the island.
  • Cruise the surrounding waters with a boat tour with Project Oceanology, which is located in Groton, CT and runs tours around Fishers Island.

Dive Deeper

  • Fishers Island Strategic Plan: 2007-2017
    Written by the Town of Southold, this plan outlines community goals and objectives, and lays the foundation for future community action on the island.
  • Fishers Island Conservancy
    Founded in 1985, the Fishers Island Conservancy promotes environmental awareness and appreciation for the diversity of the island.
  • Seagrass LI
    Cornell Cooperative Extension’s seagrass program works toward the restoration, management, research and education of marine resources found on the NY side of the Long Island Sound.
  • Long Island Sound Study Eelgrass Indicator
    Eelgrass beds abundance indicates good water quality and good habitat for aquatic life, and acceptable levels of nutrients. LISS has been tracking eelgrass abundance in the Sound since 2002.

 

Places to Visit

  • Henry L. Ferguson Museum
    The Henry L. Ferguson Museum collects, preserves and exhibits the natural history of Fishers Island.

Get Involved/Events

Credits and Sources

  • “An Estuary of National Significance.” Long Island Sound Study. Web. 2012. <http://longislandsoundstudy.net/>.
  • “Fishers Island Conservancy.” Welcome! Web. 2011. <http://www.fishersislandconservancy.org/>

Return to the main Stewardship page

Did You Know?

  • Fishers Island was originally named Visscher’s Island in 1614 by Adriaen Block.
  • There are 60 types of true  seagrasses in the world, but only one, eelgrass, is found in the Northeast coast.
  • Eelgrass beds surrounding the island range from depths of 4.5 to 14 feet.
  • Over 200 people live on the island year-round, with the summer population swelling to around 2,000 people.
  • Fishers Island has established and used a non-toxic mosquito control program since 1985.

Fishers Island Coastline

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