What’s Up With Fluke, Porgy & Sea Bass In New Jersey? - The Fisherman

What’s Up With Fluke, Porgy & Sea Bass In New Jersey?

The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council (Council) is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 7 at Scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Galloway Township Branch of the Atlantic County Library at 306 East Jimmie Leeds Road in Galloway, where it’s expected that the 2024 regulations for summer flounder, black sea bass and porgies will be finalized.  Anglers with a preference for how these final regulations ultimately shake out are encouraged to attend.

Summer flounder cuts of 28% are required in 2024, with an associated 10% reduction in recreational porgy.  Black sea bass regulations do not have to change, but attendees at the March 7th Council meeting may find options that adjust either the start or end date of that season.  For an advance look at the options set for final vote on March 7 check out our weekly video fishing forecasts from The Fisherman Magazine in the days leading up to the vote.

A volunteer group, the Council is responsible for advising the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on various issues and management programs related to marine fishery resources.  These public meetings are typically held six times a year and provide the opportunity for saltwater anglers and recreational industry leaders to provide input on management measures.

By statute, the Council should have 11 members made up of recreational and commercial fishermen, fish processors, the general public and the Atlantic Coast and Delaware Bay sections of the Shellfisheries Council; currently there are two open seats at the Council yet to be filled by New Jersey governor Phil Murphy since 2020, one “at large” public seat and the other a seat belonging to the recreational fishing community.

At the January 5, 2023 meeting of Council, Jeff Brust, the chief Bureau of Marine Fisheries said his staff had begun an open solicitation of possible candidates over a year ago.  “We’re in the process of internally deciding what recommendations we want passed to the governor,” Brust said at that Council meeting in January of last year.  Replying to a question as to when those seats be filled, Brust said last year “I don’t have a firm answer for you but just an update that we are still moving forward in the process, we do have some applicants I just don’t know where we go with it from here.”

At the January 4, 2024 meeting of the Council, Brust said those two empty seats had still not been filled almost a year to the day later, though he said he was hopeful that this might be the year that the Council is made complete.  “Staff (Bureau of Marine Fisheries) is not asked for recommendations, but we make recommendations to the Commissioner’s (Department of Environmental Protection) office, where they go from there I don’t know,” Brust said.

Nominations presented by the governor to the current two-year Senate for its review, known as the “advice and consent” process, are required for numerous management bodies in the Garden State.  As of February 12, 2024, no names appear to have been submitted by Governor Murphy to the Senate Judiciary committee for their “advice and consent” (you can track along from home by visiting njleg.state.nj.us/senate-nominations).

The March 7th meeting was originally scheduled for Stafford Township, but a scheduling conflict pushed the hearing back down to Galloway.  For details contact the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Fisheries Administration at 609-292-7794.

To participate in the March 7 council meeting online register here for the webinar.

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