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New Jersey is expected to finalize (finally!) the 2019 summer flounder and black sea bass regulations on Tuesday, April 16 in Manahawkin at a public meeting of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council.
By Jim Hutchinson, Jr.  |  April 15, 2019
It looks as if the 2019 season, size and bag limit on New Jersey fluke will be the same as it was in 2018, with the start and end dates moved ahead one day.

Saltwater anglers and recreational fishing industry folks may finally get some much-needed closure this week in terms of the 2019 regulations for fluke and sea bass as both the Delaware and New Jersey deliberative bodies are expected to meet for finalizing seasons, sizes and bags.

On Tuesday, April 16, the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council (Council) will meet at 5 p.m. at the Bay Avenue Community Center at 775 East Bay Avenue in Manahawkin. While the state had hoped to find a little “wiggle room” on 2019 fluke regulations in terms of a few extra days of season, it’s expected that the council will vote to retain the same season length, size and bag for summer flounder in 2019, with a start date of May 24 and closing date of September 21.

Earlier this year during Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meetings, regulators voted to retain status quo measures on fluke and sea bass. State officials had believed there was “some room to liberalize” in terms of fishable days, but sources indicate this week that “status quo” was the final answer to the length of season given by the federal fisheries agency.

The 2018 fluke regulations in New Jersey included a three fish bag and 18-inch size limit along the coast, with 17-inch minimum size three fish per angler bag west of COLREGS on Delaware Bay and an exclusive 16-inch minimum size and two fish bag for surfcasters at Island Beach State Park.

As for black sea bass, New Jersey is expected to approve a 12-1/2-inch minimum and 10 fish bag limit from May 15 to June 22, a two fish bag from July 1 to August 31, and a 10 fish bag from October 8 to October 31. As of November 1, the minimum size would increase to 13 inches with a 15 fish bag through December 31.

To confirm date and time of Tuesday’s meeting call 609-292-7794. Learn more about the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Delaware’s Advisory Council on Tidal Finfisheries will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 17 in the DNREC Auditorium, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901. The Council will discuss commercial anchor gillnetting in the Delaware River; proposed changes to finfish regulations; recent and proposed actions by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that may affect Delaware fisheries; the summer slot striped bass season; court-levied penalties for fishing violations, Delaware Sea Grant’s Fisheries Forums; and proposed legislation to streamline adoption of Delaware tidal finfish regulations.

As it stands, Delaware’s summer flounder season never closes and anglers fish on a four fish bag limit and 16-1/2-inch minimum size. Black sea bass is open from May 15 through December 31 with a 15 fish bag and 12-1/2-inch size limit.

Get more information, including the meeting agenda at the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar or contact the DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.