The writing was on the wall going all the way back to December, and northeast fluke anglers have just been waiting for each state to announce its new updated fluke regulations for 2017 as mandated by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC.) Then, on Thursday, February 2, the ASMFC voted 7-3 in favor of the so-called Option 5 of the Summer Flounder Draft Addendum XXVIII for 2017 recreational measures for fluke. The option would apply a “near coast-wide 1-inch size limit increase and bag limit reduction to four fish or less” along the Atlantic Coast in 2017, with North Carolina exempt from the measures, and the tri-state region of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey getting a three-fish bag limit.
Connecticut was the first to set new regs in March. Next up, Rhode Island moved forward with changes made to black sea bass, fluke and blackfish on April 7. Finally on April 11, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries updated its recreational fishing measures without any real fanfare or announcement. One could only discover these changes by chance, as I did.
FLUKE/SUMMER FLOUNDER: May 22 – September 24, 4 fish, 17-inch minimum.
For those keeping track, this results in the same season as 2016 but the minimum length has increased from 16 inches to 17, and the bag limit has decreased from 5 fish down to 4.
All the while, New Jersey fought against these changes, and to date, we eagerly await the outcome and its potential affect on all states managed by the ASMFC.