Reports from the recent ‘Shep on Fishing’ WOND radio show of Dec. 8, 2018: the Summer flounder stock is plentiful and looking fine. Too bad you can’t easily catch a keeper.
Recreation harvest estimate…. based on OLD estimates. New data is available, but not being used… yet.
Guest: Jeff Brust of NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife.
‘Shep on Fishing’ Show Notes:
- Understanding the fishing stock.
- The fishing stock is bigger. Summer flounder quota should go up. We’ll find out more in February when fishing officials meet.
- Local fishers would prefer earlier Summer flounder season starting in April, when larger flounder (female) are more plentiful.
Anglers in South Jersey would also prefer to split New Jersey in half, in regard to regulations. North and South Jersey are really two distinct fisheries.
South Jersey Summer Flounder, Sea Bass and Scup.
Bucktail Willie, aka Bill Shillingford, is advocating for use of ‘slot fish’. Federal rules don’t recognize ‘slot fish’ …. yet.
Slot Fish Definition: A protected slot limit is a tool used by fisheries managers to regulate the size of fish that can legally be harvested from particular bodies of water. Usually set by state fish and game departments, the protected slot limit prohibits the harvest of fish where the lengths, measured from the snout to the end of the tail, fall within the protected interval.
Did ya know? Male flounder stop growing when they get closer to 18 inches in size.
Example: you can catch 40 flounder…and only one is a keeper. 30% or more die, when thrown back.
Size limit. Boatloads of smaller flounder 16-18 inches. Very few large 18+ Summer Flounder (also known as Fluke)
Robin Scott of Margate: when regulation allowed 13-17 inches, the flounder stock grew.
We must focus on ‘mortality fish’.
- Small fish come inshore, in later summer, when water temp in 70 degrees+
- Littoral Society tagging of fish: flounder throwback mortality is 60%
Flounder sink when dead. They don’t float, due to lack of bladder.
Robin Scott: South Jersey has the most fish, but we can’t catch them.
- Male flounder don’t grow as big as female.
- Discard mortality rates.
- How to cook Sea Bass. A listener (Victor) called in to share his special recipe.
3 ways to manage recreational fishery:
- Size limit
- Bag limit
- Season length
Jeff Brust, a New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Marine Fisheries Research Scientist. Keep harvest of flounder sustainable. Collect data, analyze info, execute plan that promotes sustainability.
- Allowable, larger fish are breeding females. Crazy that fishermen are forced to grow flounder population by removing the breeders. (18 inch females).
- The slot-fish, proposed at between 15 to 18 inches, usually are males. More females survive when anglers take home these smaller ‘slot fish’.
- Male fish rarely grow past 17-inches.
- In addition to slot-fish, all of New Jersey would benefit by being its own region, with a separate set of rules.
- We need to cut ourselves off from the New York region.
South Jersey is loaded with fish. That’s due to our proximity to the ocean, the Delaware Bay, rich inlets, bays, channels and backwaters. North Jersey and New York scheme to keep us away fro those fish…..so they can have bigger catches as the fish migrate north.
Drag Island and Somers Point Update.