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The fluke and sea bass season, size and bag limit discussion heats up with the ASMFC and MAFMC meetings over the first two weeks of February, with Rutgers helping provide anglers with more scientific answers later in the month.
By Jim Hutchinson, Jr.  |  February 5, 2018
Could slot limits somewhere between a toss 'em and doormat achieve a more sex-balanced harvest in the recreational summer flounder fishery? Join scientists from Rutgers University on February 22 at Shark River Beach and Yacht Club to find out!

The perennial questions about season, size and bag limits are flying around shops, shows and flea markets; the answers of course won’t really be solidified for black sea bass and fluke for another month or so.

However, things begin to get a whole lot clearer in the next two weeks as fisheries managers, advisors and state delegates meet to review data and divvy up the coastal scraps of quota.

It all starts this week as the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) meets from February 6-8 at the Westin Hotel, 1800 Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, VA.

ASFMC serves as a deliberative body of the Atlantic coastal states, coordinating the conservation and management of 27 nearshore fish species. One of the primary topics for discussion and debate at the February 6-8 meeting in Arlington, VA will be Draft Addendum XXX to the Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan.

From February 13-15, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) will convene for three days of hearings at the Hilton Garden Inn Raleigh/Crabtree Valley, 3912 Arrow Drive, Raleigh, NC.

MAFMC is one of eight regional fishery management councils responsible for developing fishery management plans and recommending management measures for the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the United States (3-200 miles), also known as federal fishing waters.

For coastal anglers who would like a better understanding of how these ASMFC and MAFMC decisions are made, Rutgers Cooperative Extension is running a couple of programs this month that may be of interest.

On Thursday, February 22, 2018 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Dr. Jason Morson, Research Scientist, Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University will give a presentation about summer flounder slot limits.

Specifically, Dr. Morson will help provide answers to another big question heard every year, "Could slot limits achieve a more sex-balanced harvest in the recreational summer flounder fishery?"

The event will be held at the Shark River Beach and Yacht Club in Neptune City, NJ at 360 South Riverside Drive, in Neptune City, NJ and is organized by Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

If you have any questions or would like to be added to a email list for future seminar or educational program announcements, email Dr. Douglas Zemeckis (County Agent III, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University: or Kelly Jurgensen (Marine Secretary, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County:

Dr. Zemeckis and his team will also be holding a special introductory fisheries science course entitled Introductory Fisheries Science for Stakeholders (IFISSH). If you’ve ever wanted a better understanding of the Alphabet Soup that is fisheries management, IFISSH will be conducted through seven evening sessions (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.) over an eight week period from February 27 through April 17.

The Rutgers University Cooperative Extension course will cover a wide range of fisheries science and management topics to help educate stakeholders on the processes and issues impacting their industries. This is a terrific opportunity for tackle shop owners, charter boat operators, hardcore saltwater anglers and future ASFMC/MAFMC candidates who are looking for a comprehensive overview on coastal fisheries.

The course will take place at the office of Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County in Toms River, NJ, though students can also participate remotely via an online webinar.

Course deadline is February 16. Contact Dr. Douglas Zemeckis or Kelly Jurgensen.