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Old 12-23-2013, 01:13 AM
Angler Paul Angler Paul is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 518
Default Re: Trouble for the 2014 Fluke season

Below is a more updated version of what is going on. I posted it on another thread a day or two ago.

Here is my take on the situation and it includes what you can do to help. I hesitate to post specific numbers because every time I do so it seems MRIP revises their numbers the next day. Anyway, the ASMFC is not expected to make any decision until thier next meetiing in February. The addendum was just released today.

More Stringent Fluke Regulations Loom on the Horizon
By Paul Haertel – JCAA President Elect

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: http://www.asmfc.org/files/PublicInp...nt_Dec2013.pdf

JCAA will continue to be involved in this process and we will keep you informed. However, we also encourage all interested individuals to become involved and give their opinions. Below is some information as to how you can go about doing that.

Public Comment Process and Proposed Timeline
At the December 2013 Commission meeting, the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea
Bass Management Board approved a motion to initiate the development of an addendum
to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black
Sea Bass. The addendum will address the recreational management of the Summer
Flounder and Black Sea Bass FMP. The Board is developing recreational management
options for Summer Flounder and Black Sea Bass. This draft addendum presents
background on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC)
management of summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass; the addendum process and
timeline; and a statement of the problem. This document also provides options of
management for public consideration and comment.
The public is encouraged to submit comments regarding this document at any time during
the public comment period. The final date comments will be accepted is January 24,
2014 at 5:00 p.m. You may submit public comment in one or more of the following
1. Attend public hearings in your state or jurisdiction.
2. Refer comments to your state’s members on the Summer Flounder, Scup, and
Black Sea Bass Management Board or Advisory Panel, if applicable.
3. Mail, fax or email written comment to the following address:
Mail: Kirby Rootes-Murdy Email: krootes-murdy@asmfc.org
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Phone: (703) 842-0740
1050 North Highland Street, Suite 200A-N Fax: (703) 842-0741
Arlington, VA 22201

A public hearing will be held on the addendum as listed below:

New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife
January 13, 2014 at 7 PM
Ocean County Administration Building
Public Hearing Room 119
101 Hooper Avenue
Toms River, New Jersey
Contact: Tom Baum at 609.748.2020