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Old 01-13-2017, 10:22 AM
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bender bender is offline
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:19 AM
dakota560 dakota560 is offline
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Default Re: 2017 Fluke - Next Steps

Done. Thanks for posting. Below email sent.

To Whom it May Concern.

The comments made at the Galloway meeting about the inverse relationship between the decrease in the summer flounder biomass and the increase in size retention seems to bear a direct correlation. There's a study conducted by Rutgers University which clearly shows an extremely high percentage of fluke over 17.5 inches are female. One slide presented in the ASMFC presentation at the meeting (bottom chart page 7) has a trend line of the fluke biomass, relative to recruitment numbers (fluke reproduction) and all compared to the NMFS biomass stock rebuild quota. The data clearly shows a significant increase in the stock biomass between 1985 and 2006. Almost a 500% increase. After 2006, the biomass line trended down, not significantly but it does trend down. It makes sense the decline in the biomass trend line might coincide with the trend in increasing the yearly size restrictions resulting in more female breeders being harvested and negatively impacting the biomass and recruitment numbers. Bear in mind larger fluke, primarily all female, fetch a higher dollar value for commercial guys as well so the thought process is there's too many females being harvested relative to males. The data supports that possibility. So if we were to maintain a 5 fish limit similar to '16 but change the mix, establish a slot limit of maybe three smaller fish combined with 2 fish at the existing 18" limit. that would give breeders a few more years to help the overall biomass. Additionally it was pointed out and I believe supported by existing science that the there is a definite relationship between the size of a female fluke relative to the increased number of eggs produced. A larger more mature female produces millions more eggs a season. Please see attached link.


Excerpt from the article says it all!

Both males and females become sexually mature at the age of 3. The fecundity (number of eggs produced in a single spawning season) of females increases with size and weight. A 14 inch female produces about 460,000, and a 27 inch female about 4,200,000 eggs in a season. Reproduction takes place in the fall, as soon as the fish begin migrating to wintering grounds. Peak spawning activity occurs from early September through early November in water temperatures of 53 to 66 degrees F and at depths of 60 to 160 feet. The center of spawning activity occurs off the coasts of New York and New Jersey with less concentrated activity occurring in southern New England waters. The eggs float in the water column, hatching 72 to 75 hours after being laid.

Relevance of all this is to try protecting the female population of the existing biomass, an in doing so give the larger females another one or more years to produce at levels greatly beyond the smaller less mature females while assessing the impact this has on the biomass prospectively. The data supports every aspect of this logic. It would benefit everyone to manage what could very well be the primary cause of the downward trending biomass line, and not just the effect by simply cutting creel limits and legislating taking even more larger breeders out of the biomass population. That makes no sense whatsoever.

A question was raised at the meeting regarding how the biomass goal in the Spawning Stock Biomass and Recruitment slide was arrived at of what appears to be ~ 62,000 metric tons. That size biomass appears to be at a level never attained historically in the fishery, yet it's the ultimate goal effecting every decisions being made to manage the resource under MSA. Since that level biomass has never been attained, there's strong opinion it's set too high and should be re-evaluated considering the significant reductions in overall harvest (both recreational and commercial) over the last 30 years. Through efforts and sacrifices made by both, the biomass has improved in the last 31 years by almost 400 - 500%, NMFS themselves proclaimed in '10 or '11 the stock was rebuilt, yet once again we're faced with draconian cuts which if adopted would essentially represent an industry closure. It was said multiple times at both meetings, recreational anglers and commercial have supported NMFS efforts and the spirit of the MSA for 30 to 40 years, since Magnuson-Stevenson Act was adopted in 1976, along with all the changed regulations to rebuild the stock with the PROMISE and HOPE that once rebuilt we'd collectively enjoy the benefits of those sacrifices. And now at the eleventh hour when the stock appears to have been rebuilt, again NMFS proclaiming that fact as such five or six years ago, we're being mandated to make further sacrifices. The hope we've all clung to for the betterment of the fishery has been destroyed based on the proposals on the table being considered.

If we're stuck for whatever reason with the elevated biomass goal, then the entire area of focus should not be just increasing the biomass but improving the ratio between males and females within the mix. For that reason, I would ask NMFS to consider making the following changes. First adopt the above changes for '17 which would represent a huge improvement over the existing options, save many businesses in the process and allow NMFS time to assess the impact of these changes in future biomass studies. Second, the above article in Summer Flounder states the following:

"Peak spawning activity occurs from early September through early November in water temperatures of 53 to 66 degrees F and at depths of 60 to 160 feet. The center of spawning activity occurs off the coasts of New York and New Jersey with less concentrated activity occurring in southern New England waters. The eggs float in the water column, hatching 72 to 75 hours after being laid."

As these fish move off shore to their winter grounds, they school up, follow very predictable routes and are easy targets for commercial fishing concerns. I'd ask the NMFS to consider protecting these fish during their PRIME spawning season by closing the fishery during that period to give every female fluke an opportunity to improve the biomass at least one more time. The impact of that alone would be significant not to mention the exponential effect of future procreation as a result. The impact on future recruitment numbers should be significant. Not suggesting commercial quotas be cut, suggesting NMFS enact legislation that changes the timing of that harvest to protect the entire spawning class every year. When all is said and done, after all the concerns over data collection, the science, how recreational catch numbers are calculated, dead catch as a result of commercial fishing etc., there's a lot to be said that if we just protect and bolster the female fluke population and give them more time to reproduce, the benefit to the biomass would be staggering and maybe we'd even hit the existing lofty goal set under MSA

One last video I'd like to share with you. You've probably seen it but to prove a point..


Everyone of those fish discarded dead is most likely a female breeder, large female breeder. Assume there were 50 fish tossed back and each one had 3,000,000 eggs. That's 150,000,000 eggs just from the fish destroyed by one boat in one day! Can you imagine the impact on the biomass if for just one season we protected the entire spawn class. Mesh sizes can't prevent to my knowledge commercial concerns from harvesting larger fish, smaller fish but not larger fish. So change the timing of their harvest, close the season during the fall migration and reopen it when the fish have all spawned. I'm sure you have the data to project the impact of protecting the spawn, as I said it has to be enormous and since biomass seems to be the driving force under MSA why not address what is arguably the largest reasons impacting that number by adopting the two suggested changes.

I hope everything said at the Galloway Meeting doesn't fall on deaf ears. It's in everyone's interest to have all our collective oars in the water rowing in the same direction. In the process, we can't put people's livelihoods at further risk or take away a God given past time many have enjoyed their entire lives. The above options don't propose alterations to existing catch quotas, they're intended to change the mix of the harvest and promote future increases and production of all future spawning classes. Thanks in advance for your consideration.


I tried sending this email to the Commission at the address reflected on your website comments@asmfc.org but I received a message saying that's a bad address. I'd appreciate you forwarding this email if possible to the Commission in the hopes it reaches as many readers as possible. Again thanks in advance for your understanding and consideration.

Last edited by dakota560; 01-14-2017 at 10:48 AM..
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Old 01-17-2017, 01:54 PM
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Old 01-20-2017, 11:12 PM
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Joey Dah Fish Joey Dah Fish is offline
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Old 01-21-2017, 06:56 AM
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dfish28 dfish28 is offline
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Lightbulb Re: 2017 Fluke - Next Steps

I think it is "done" but when this came up, the fam damily and I, all sent one in, which is how we should all approach this, have all around you send in, even if they dont fish, but probably still eat fish, every voice counts! Think of the fire we could start if each of us that truly cared went to highly populated areas with a tablet or laptop, that cater to outdoor enthusiasts, and had those around sign the document as well, could start an exponential windfall and our "Voice" would be heard more! Just like battle, its time for a plan of attack!
Adam W
20'cc hydra sport-Bad Habit
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Old 02-04-2017, 02:03 PM
Ttmako Ttmako is offline
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Default Re: 2017 Fluke - Next Steps

As you are aware, we didn't get the result we wanted.
However, our politicians are certainly well informed and engaged. This is what we need to help with these regulations.
Stand by and pay attention. This fight isn't over.
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