2018 Summer Flounder Regulations. Reforming Magnuson-Stevens Act of 1976.

Why punish recreational fishermen and harm local tourism with un-needed rules and fishing regulations? Ridiculous precautionary measures are killing recreational fishing & tourism. The Jersey Shore is getting economically strangled.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) met in Annapolis from December 11-14. The met to give saltwater recreational fishing the attention it deserves, via a reform of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

The goal is to reform the old and crusty, Magnuson Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976. Efforts are underway to modernize the way coastal fisheries are managed. We need to revise the one-size-fits-all approach of the Magnuson-Stevens act.

Stop converting marinas into mcMansions.

A 17 ½ inch keeper size would be great for summer flounder. This would be a huge win for party boats, marinas, charter boats and bait & tackle ships.

Families on vacation would benefit even more. Why spend 4 hrs on a party boat and have nothing to take home for dinner? It’s not uncommon for a packed party boat to catch 100 summer flounder, with only 3 being ‘keepers’. That’s 97 throw-backs, many of which die.

Let New Jersey call it’s own shots in regards to fishing stock.

Flawed data is hurting blues, black seabass & fluke / summer flounder. Summer flounder is responsible for about 40% of the industry.

Back in 2006, NJ was lumped in with northern regions which have higher size limits. Years of disconnect between federal law and its local effects when it comes to Congress and the regional fisheries managers.

Rigid annual catch limits have been imposed by orgs using fault, flawed data, much of it coming from the research vessel Bigelow, which has been accused of poor fishing techniques, which leads to faulty data.

SUMMER FLOUNDER and saltwater recreational fishing has been treated as an afterthought.

Regulations may be loosened up a bit for Summer 2018. But we think they still stink. Four fish at 18 inches with a season from May 15 to September 15. New Jersey caught some hell last season, opting for non-compliance.

Throwing back a 17.5 inch fluke is stupid. Many die, especially if the flat fish swallowed the hook. Major goal is to reduce the discard mortality rate.

Angler Bill Shillingford, aka Bucktail Willie tags summer flounder. He wants fisheries managers to recognizing differences between South & North Jersey. Willie believes South Jersey needs to be in it’s own region, or be connected to Delaware which has a 365-day season.

Willie knows fish. He catches, tags and releases flounder from mid-April (biggest) to mid-November every year. North Jersey is more like New York and Connecticut says Shillingford.

More decisions to be made at next meeting of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council on January 4, 2018.

BLACK SEA BASS

Recreational black sea bass fishing from May 15 through December 31 with a 12-1/2-inch limit and 15 fish bag limit. Remove “dead zones” between the coastal fluke closure and reopening of black sea bass.

In February, State regulations are set for fluke and sea bass regulation.

According to the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), this is great news for future fluke and sea bass debates. H.R. 200 is excellent news for the recreational fishing community, fishing related businesses and the marine industry. Magnuson reform ensures long-term conservation while providing greater access and fishing opportunities for the recreational fishing sector.

A successful vote by the House – expected in early 2018 – would allow the U.S. Senate to take action on efforts to modernize fisheries management along the coastal United States and improve angler access to sustainable fish stocks including fluke and sea bass by amending the 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide flexibility for fishery managers and stability for fishermen.