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New York DEC was able to avoid a 41-percent reduction in fluke harvest, resulting in status quo on the length of season.
By Fred Golofaro  |  May 14, 2017
The 2017 summer flounder season runs from May 17 through September 21, the same as 2016.

New York's Department of Environmental Conservation helped lead efforts to successfully challenge national marine fisheries data to reduce this season's harvest reductions from 41 percent reductions to 30 percent and ensure a viable fishery for New York and other East Coast states. A 41 percent reduction would have reduced the season by approximately three weeks. Instead, the season will again run from May 17 to September 21. DEC officially announced this season's regulations last week. These regulations are required to meet the more restrictive rules put in place by the National Marine Fisheries Service, and include changes to the minimum size and possession limits. New York's 2017 regulations should result in an approximately 30 percent reduction in harvest to meet the federal requirements. While the coast-wide recreational harvest of summer flounder was originally expected to be cut by 41 percent, under state-by-state recreational allocations, New York was facing a 70 percent reduction. While the open season for fluke has not changed, the new regulations include a three-fish possession limit and a 19-inch size limit.

This regulatory change reflects the coast wide decline in the number of summer flounder documented in the most recent surveys. Consistent below-average reproductive success for the last five years may be one cause for the decline. The catch limits set by the National Marine Fisheries Service for both the recreational and commercial fisheries in 2017 are the lowest in the history of the fishery management plan, which began in 1993.

New York State worked cooperatively with other members of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to reduce recreational summer flounder harvest along the coast in an equitable manner. As part of this effort, most states from Massachusetts through Virginia are expected to increase their size limit by one inch and lower their possession limits.

Information on the most up-to-date marine recreational fishing regulations for all species can be found on DEC's website.

Marine recreational anglers 16 years or older are reminded that they must register each year in New York's free Recreational Marine Fishing Registry on DEC's website.

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