Update May 23 2017
Guess what fishermen, the NJ Fluke Regs for 2017 are STILL in flux. The ASMFC has rejected the NJMFC proposal for 3 fish at 18". NJ will now officially be out of compliance when the season opens on May 25. If the Feds act strongly they can shut down the fishery for the year. This is going to get ugly.
The commission's rejection means the state is "out of compliance," a designation that could prompt federal regulators to shut down the entire flounder fishery for recreational and commercial anglers.
Update May 18 2017
The NJMFC has determined the NJ Fluke season will begin on 5/25 and extend through 9/5 with a 3 fish bag limit at 18". Those fishing Delaware Bay will be allowed 3 fish at 17" while those fishing Island Beach will be allowed 2 fish at 16" with the same season.
The ASMFC must still formally approve the NJMFC decision though the expecation is that NJMFC's plan will be approved.
The ASMFC released a press release about the same.
Update May 17 2017
NJ Fluke Regulations to be decided today
The next New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council meeting will be at 4 PM on Wednesday, 5/17 at the Avalon Community Center locate at 3001 Avalon Rd., Avalon, NJ 08202.
The Council will either support or reject Commissioner Martin’s recommended 2017 fluke regulations at that time as that is the only action available to them to put a regulation in place at this meeting. The option that will be recommended by Commissioner Martin after lengthy negotiations with the National Marine Fisheries service is a 3 fish bag limit at 18 inch with a 104 day season that will begin on 5/25 and extend through 9/5. This option includes a 17 inch size limit for Delaware Bay and a 16 inch size limit for the shore based anglers at Island Beach State Park with the same seasons. These negotiations were entered into after the ASMFC voted for a 19 inch size limit with a 3 fish bag limit and a 128 day season that could have begun on 5/20 and ended on 9/24.
The chronology of the Fluke Regulations decision for 2017
According to a letter drafted by the The ASMFC Commissioners of New Jersey (March 24, 2017) - The New Jersey Commissioners of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) hereby formally appeal the February 2, 2017 approval by the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board (Board) of Addendum XXVIII (Addendum) to the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP).
The FMP proposed would require NJ to increase the minimum landing size to 19" and decrease the bag limit to 3.
The AFSC Commisioners of New Jeresey reject this proposal for several reasons not limited to;
- Increase in Fishery Resource Waste
- Disproportionate Removal of Larger Breeding Females
- Unfairness & Inequity Among Member States
- Failure to Consider Economic and Social Impacts
- Compliance and Data Collection Issues
On March 28, 2017, Bob Martin, NJ Commisioner of Environment Protection drafted a letter to The US Department of Commerce asking in part that
'New Jersey is requesting that you stop these new regulations from going into effect and that NOAA fisheries maintain the status quo of the 2016 Recreational Harvest Limit for summer flounder.'
On February 2, 2017, the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board, part of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), approved changes to this coming year's summer flounder quota for New Jersey. It mandated a one-inch size increase to New Jersey's current recreational summer flounder minimum size limit (raising it from 18-inches to 19-inches) and decreased the possession limit from 5 fish to 3 fish. New Jersey is appealing this change.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering New Jersey Conservation Equivalency Proposal for 2017 Summer Flounder Recreational Fishery.
The ASMFC is scheduled to have a conference call before the Fluke season opening on May 21 to either approve NJ's proposal or to rule NJ out of compliance.
Read the update here