At the May 13th meeting of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council (NJMFC), members of the council requested the Marine Fisheries Administration staff continue investigating several alternative recreational summer flounder fisheries management options for 2022 and beyond. A subsequent meeting of the council’s Recreational Summer Flounder Advisory Committee was held via webinar on June 28 in which potential new management approaches for the New Jersey recreational summer flounder fishery were discussed.
A suite of options approved by NJMFC as discussed at their July meeting to move forward for future discussion included (1) a continuous minimum size, season and bag; (2) a slot size limit of two fish with one trophy fish and a continuous season; and (3) an early season small size limit coupled with a larger minimum size limit later in the year, both with a three fish bag limit.
New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife staff presented the NJFMFC with a total of eight options representing these three general categories:
- Continuous Minimum Size-Status quo, 18 inch minimum size, season from May 22 to September 19 (121 days).
- Continuous Minimum Size-17.5 inch minimum size, season from June 21 to September 26 (98 days).
- Continuous Minimum Size-17.5 inch minimum size, season from June 6 to September 5 (92 days).
- Slot and Trophy A- 2 fish 17-17.99 inches and 1 fish 18 inches or greater, season from May 16 to October 7 (145 days).
- Slot and Trophy B-1 fish 17-17.99 inches and 2 fish 18 inches or greater, season from June 6-Septmeber 19 (106 days).
- Slot and Trophy C-1 fish 17.5 -17.99 inches and 2 fish 18 inches or greater, season from May 22 to September 25 (127 days).
- Variable Size A-17 inches from May 27-June 30, 18 inches from July 1 to September 9 (106 days).
- Variable Size B- 17.5 inches from May 22 to June 30, 18 inches from July 1 to September 12 (114 days).
The varied options have been delivered to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMF) technical committee for consideration, concept and methodology review, and further vetting for use as management tools as is the process for all annual state summer flounder management proposals. Once the ASMFC technical committee has reviewed the methodology, another meeting will be scheduled with with New Jersey advisors in October/November to further refine a summer flounder management path for 2022.
The next meeting of the NJMFC will take place this Thursday, September 9 at 5 p.m. at the Galloway Twp. Branch of the Atlantic Co. Library, 306 East Jimmie Leeds Road in Galloway. The meeting is scheduled as an “in-person meeting” but it’s expected to have a webinar component as well. While the meeting agenda was not yet posted, I’ll personally be looking forward to seeing if fluke options are once again the spotlight.
For meeting details go to www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/mcnclmtg.htm or call 609-292-7794.
EDITORS NOTE – On Sunday, September 5, Jeffrey Brust, Bureau Chief with the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife notified us that this Thursday’s meeting of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council will be webinar only.