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2014 Fluke season
12-23-2013, 11:49 PM (This post was last modified: 12-23-2013 11:54 PM by SaltLife1980.)
Post: #1
2014 Fluke season
idk whats gonna happen this year.. They are saying we over fished again for 2013..

Summer Flounder
Based on the recreational harvest limit of 7.01 million pounds, the Council and Board recommended the use of conservation equivalency for the recreational summer flounder fishery in 2014. Conservation equivalency allows individual states or voluntary regions to develop recreational measures that achieve a region- or state-specific harvest target. The combination of state- or
region-specific measures would be equivalent to the Council- and Board-approved non-preferred coastwide measures of an 18-inch TL minimum fish size, a 4 fish possession limit, and a May 1 – September 30 season.

Just when it seemed that New Jersey had dodged a bullet aimed at significantly reducing our recreational fluke, things have changed once again. The preliminary MRIP figures had shown that we had over fished our quota by approximately 47% and that did not even include the wave 5 data (September-October). Under the state conservation equivalency format that we have been utilizing since 2001, each state is given a quota. Each state is then allowed to develop regulations pertaining to size, possession and season limits. After years when the quota is exceeded, regulations must be made more stringent the following year. Therefore, had the preliminary MRIP numbers been allowed to stand, draconian measures would have had to be taken in 2014.
The good news was that the wave 4 data (July-August) was recently revised. More specifically, the wave 4 data was changed from 1,159,303 to 730,086 fish, which resulted in a reduction of 429,217 fish. That was welcome news but even more recently, the MRIP numbers were also revised for wave 3 (May-June). Unfortunately they showed an increase from 279,658 fish to 337,983 fish which is an increase of 58,325 fish. Further, the preliminary wave 5 data (September-October) was just released on 12/16 and it shows that an additional 129,388 fluke were harvested. That makes our total harvest for the year 1,197,457 fish. Our original quota was for 977,998 fish but ASMF later approved an extra 88,000 fish so our total quota for the year ended up being 1,065,998 fish. That makes us 131,459 fish over our quota which equates to having over fished our quota by approximately 12.3%. That would not be too bad except for the fact that the overall coast wide quota is being reduced by about 8%. That means that if we continue to use conservation equivalency and the MRIP numbers do not change yet again, we are looking at a cut of close to 21%. Under this scenario I anticipate that the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council would develop various options for the public to consider. Most likely there will once again be a battle between those who prefer a shorter season so the size limit can remain at 17.5” and those who favor a longer season with an 18” size limit.
Under this scenario there is also a possibility that the ASMFC could approve some extra fish for us in 2014 once all the states have set their regulations as they did in 2013.
It is also possible that the NJMFC could use data from our own state’s recreational saltwater angler survey to develop more favorable regulations.
Of course all of the above assumes that fluke will be managed the same way as they have been in the past and we are not changed to a regional approach. New York’s Senator Charles Schumer has introduced the “Fluke Fairness Act” which would result in New Jersey being placed in a region with New York and other states. Further the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council has now developed addendum XXV to the Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan. The addendum also includes options for regionalization and again New Jersey would be placed in a region with New York and other states. The end result would most likely be that New York’s regulations would become more lenient and New Jersey’s more stringent. Still all options should be considered. Those interested in reviewing the addendum which also addresses managerial options for sea bass may do so by going to:


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