April 14, 2017 — New Jersey’s fight against approved summer flounder measures hangs in the balance, and a meeting next month could prove critical for flounder fishermen.
The state’s Marine Fisheries Council met Thursday evening at the Galloway Township branch of the Atlantic County Library in part to discuss its strategy in opposing a federal regulatory commission’s decision to cut this year’s summer flounder catch by 30 percent.
“I’m getting questions every day,” said Dick Herb, the council’s chairman. “We just don’t know what’s going to happen there.”
“There’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes,” he added.
Earlier this year, the state council voted to go out of compliance with the federal measures, which could trigger a pivotal decision by new Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross following a federal regulatory meeting in May, Herb said.
Ross could decide to shut down recreational and commercial flounder fishing in New Jersey, or he could study the issue and allow fishing to continue, among other options, according to Herb.
“He can do what he wants to do,” Herb said. “I think we’re going to have to move awfully quickly when we get some movement on this.”
In February, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approved the new reductions, which would limit New Jersey recreational fishermen to three fish at 19 inches in the Atlantic Ocean and three at 18 inches in the Delaware Bay.