For the 2022 season, changes will be taking place for the marine species’ summer flounder (fluke), sea bass, and scup (porgies). While these changes are not yet set in stone, preliminary options have been chosen, and they’re waiting for approval by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Management Board. Once they get the needed consent, we should see these regulation changes go into effect shortly afterward for the beginning of the season for New York State anglers.
Starting with the summer flounder, three options were proposed for the upcoming season. All three result in a 16.5 percent liberalization that was required by the interstate fisheries management board. Also, it should be noted that all three options will affect New York and Connecticut waters. The fluke regulations for 2021 sat at a minimum size of 19 inches with a four fish possession limit and a season from May 4th to September 30th. Since we will be receiving a liberalization, we’re actually going to be gaining with fluke. According to fisheries managers, option three for fluke has been decided on, and it’s currently awaiting approval. After approval, this liberalization to the regulations will result in a half-inch decrease in the possession size. It will sit at 18.5 inches once it’s authorized. The possession limit of four fish will remain status quo; the same as the 2021 season. For the season, option three comes with extensions on the front and back end. This means the season will begin on May 1st and run through October 9th. Most fluke fishermen do know that the fluke are still around our local waters after the season would close on September 30th in previous years. To boot, this could also be one of the best times to focus on fluke also. This extra season will benefit those hardcore fluke enthusiasts to a great extent.
On the other hand, sea bass will be seeing a 20.7 percent reduction in recreational quota. This means we will be losing part of the bag limit, and the minimum size will go up. Board members have selected option one out of the three options presented for sea bass. This keeps the bag limit at 3 for the first part of the season and decreases the bag from 7 to 6 for the second half of the season. Open season for sea bass will remain the same, with the first portion going from June 23rd to August 31st and the second portion from September 1st to December 31st. This second half is the part that will see a reduction in the bag limit. Across both halves of the season, we’re going to see the minimum size to keep a sea bass increase from 15 to 16 inches as well. All other states in the northern region agreed to increase the minimum size to 16 inches to help achieve the reduction required by NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service).
According to the DEC The MAFMC (Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council) and ASMFC (Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission) approved a 1 inch coastwide increase to the minimum size in both state and federal waters which achieves a 33 percent reduction. NMFS may impose additional restrictions on fisheries operating in federal waters to further reduce recreational harvest of scup. Based on last season’s scup (porgy) size limit of 9 inches, this would mean we’re looking at a 10-inch limit for the 2022 season. The season and bag limits for scup will remain status quo.
Remember, these changes are not set in stone as I type this and due to deadlines that I face, I cannot change them in the regulations section of the magazine until they become official. If the ones selected do get the proper approval, expect the regulation section of the May issue of The Fisherman Magazine to see those changes made.