Anglers were up in arms about the fluke season options provided by the ASMFC at Thursday evening's Public Hearing in Galloway Township Library, but the crowd was orderly and everyone had their say. Tom Fote, N.J. Governor's Appointee to the ASMFC ran the meeting which drew a standing room crowd of about 140 fishermen He gave everyone two minutes to express their opinion, and stayed there to after 9 p.m. There wasn't a single person who spoke in favor of any option, as all wanted status quo until a new baseline stock assessment is completed. As noted in yesterday's blog, several N.J. congressmen are supporting that position in the closing days of the Obama administration -- and there are high hopes that the Trump administration with its emphasis on economic growth will take a friendly approach to the status quo proposal.
Prior to the hearing, the Marine Fisheries Council noted 9-1 for a proposal by Bob Rusch to adopt status quo fluke regulations for 2017. Unfortunately, that decision is largely symbolic as NOAA Fisheries has the power to close our fishery if the ASMFC doesn't adopt status quo.
All of the recreational fishing groups are united in support of status quo, and are mounting a social media campaign spurred by The Fisherman magazine.
There was good fishing news on Friday, as the Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported a nice day with productive fishing. Bobby Kojac caught a double limit of blackfish plus shorts. Light leaders were the key to success, as those using over 30-pound did poorly. That boat is chartered Saturday, but will be sailing open again Sunday.