A 43 % summer flounder harvest reduction in 2016 has been recommend by ASMFC scientist. However, some fishing groups are lobbying to delay the harvest reduction.
Before following the greedy over the cliff, take a look at the past results of delaying scientific harvest reductions.
In the early 2000’s a large reduction in the weakfish quota was urged by ASMFC biologists. They warned of a total collapse of the entire weakfish stock, if the cuts were not implemented. Tom Fote New Jersey’s ASMFC representative , the RFA and others fought the quota reduction and won. Everybody was happy, commercial and sport fisherman continued to feast on the weakfish. However, the good times were short-lived. As predicted by the biologist , by 2009 the weakfish stock was beyond depleted. It was so bad, an endangered species listing was suggested by the USFWS, as a management tool. This was the result of complete incompetence by the ASMFC weakfish board. They continue to make poor management choices today. They approved the commercial sale of weakfish to continue. In complete disregard of the depleted population and common sense .
If you take a look at ASMFC’s striped bass management decisions , you will find the same incompetence. In pretty much in the same order.
Summer Flounder, I have documented data that shows a steep decline in my summer flounder catch rate over the last three years. Everyone I have spoken with has experienced the same.
Delaying the scientific summer flounder harvest reduction of 43%, will result in a short-term economic gain for a few, at the expense of the future of the fishery.
In addition, the recreational summer flounder keeper size limit should be reduced to under 17.5″. This will take the pressure off breeding size summer flounder. 98% of summer flounder over 18″ are female. The current size limit is 18″ in NJ. Removing the females of any species, results in a lower population.