Fluke management is in a state of flux and your public opinion is needed now more than ever before. The recent Draft Addendum at and prior Scoping Document cited "shifts in the biomass" indicating an abundance of larger fluke further north then historically recorded. It also states the failure of past state-by-state equivalency or the ability for each state to determine regulations. As the Draft Addendum States "the approach has been increasingly viewed as an inadequate long-term solution, given recent changes in resource status and fishery performance.” Regional measures are what we now have with regulations the same as neighboring states.

A sparse meeting in Toms River was recently held with about a dozen participants. Hardly a good turnout since it was held on the same day as the Garden State Outdoor Show. Several options were discussed. For example: The region of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware would have a 16-inch size limit, Delaware Bay, a 17-inch size limit, and New York, New Jersey and Connecticut would be at 18-1/2 inches. This was certainly not viewed by many as good news for New Jersey and great news for southern states. All of the regional options on the table showed an increase in the size limits for Garden State flukers.

Two of the options on the Addendum proposed the idea of splitting New Jersey into two regions with a two-inch size difference between the north and south around Great Bay. This would be a logistical nightmare for Conservation Officers within the division. A 17-inch fish would be proposed south of Great Bay and a 19-inch fish north of there.

Every single one of the options is detrimental to the recreational angler and for-hire sector and only regional option two keeps New Jersey at 18 inches statewide. As a result no one seems to be paying much attention to this public comment period let along meetings, which have become more frequent and often on short notice.

Along with RFA N.J.’s representative Capt. Adam Nowalsky, New Jersey’s other representative to the ASMFC, Tom Fote of the JCAA and Tom Baum of the New Jersey Div. of Fish and Wildlife, will consider all comments and make their recommendation on the regulations to the board in February.

The deadline for submitting public comments is to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission on the summer flounder management plan is one week from today, Friday Jan. 23 at 5 p.m. Comments should be forwarded to Kirby Rootes-Murdy, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, Virginia 22201; 703.842.0741 (fax) or at [email protected] (Subject line: Draft Addendum XXVI).