March 31, 2017 — New Jersey’s three commissioners to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are trying to reel some fluke back in that could be lost to anglers due to federally approved reductions.
Their latest effort to keep summer flounder regulations at status quo, is an appeal to ASMFC chairman Douglas E. Grout asking for a reversal of the commission’s vote approving a 30-percent cut to the coastwide harvest of fluke, also known as summer flounder.
The appeal cites technical, scientific and procedural flaws as reasons for reconsideration of the vote.
The season is in a couple of months and usually the state’s Marine Fisheries Council approves fluke seaon measures by early spring. The agenda for the council’s next hearing April 13 is not yet posted.
In January it made it clear that its position was to keep fluke regulations at status quo — that is to keep it at last year’s 18-inch size and five-fish bag limit.
The ASMFC did not share that view. Its position was the fluke population is declining and anglers overfished the 2016 quota.
That was supported by most states on the Atlantic seaboard as seen by the 7-3 vote in favor of Option 5 of the addendum to the Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass fishery management plan that reduced the harvest.
For New Jersey’s recreational fluke fishery that option calls for a 19-inch size limit, a three-fish bag limit this year.