When the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) met in Philly back in December and voted to remove the previously-adopted closure of the recreational scup fishery in federal waters from January 1 to April 30, it effectively resulted in a year-round open porgy season in federal waters.

Regrettably, the MAFMC also agreed that states will have to implement a 10% reduction in the recreational harvest of porgy in 2024/2025 meaning a regulatory change to season, size and bag limits beginning this season.  In other words, before Atlantic Coastal states can enjoy a porgy reopening they each have to first let NOAA Fisheries know how they plan on implementing a 10% overall harvest cut in the scup fishery.

“No state can reopen porgy without a conservation equivalency proposal,” said Jeff Brust, Chief at the Bureau of Marine Fisheries in New Jersey during the January 5th meeting of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council (NJMFC).

In responding to the potential for an early reopening of porgy, NJMFC had previously taken a vote to approve notice of the reopening, at first opportunity to do so.  That however is dependent on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and their advisors approving a new set of regulations to meet the 10% reduction of porgy for 2024-2025.  Brust said he expects that New Jersey’s porgy proposal will be reviewed by ASMFC advisors by mid-February and hopefully approved.

“Once we know ASMFC has approved our plan we will submit that notice to the commissioner,” Brust said, explaining how the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), Shawn LaTourette, would need to sign off on that change before the scup fishery could reopen in New Jersey.  “We’re looking roughly at the end of February, beginning of March,” Brust said.

New Jersey’s proposals for meeting the 28% reduction in summer flounder harvest for the 2024 season are also due back to the MAFMC by the end of January.  According to Brust, that deliberative body will meet again in early February to determine if New Jersey’s proposals for fluke season, size and bag meet the required reduction.

The council’s Recreational Summer Flounder Advisory Committee will convene during the week of January 8th, at which point potential options for the fluke season will make their rounds on social media before being sent for final MAFMC review.

Ultimately, NJMFC will make a final decision on new fluke limits at its March 7, 2024 in Stafford Township.  Both MAFMC and ASMFC have approved status quo black sea bass measures in 2024, which means the New Jersey council members will also take into consideration any slight modifications to the 2024 black sea bass season when they convene again on March 7 at the Stafford Township Administration Building at 260 E. Bay Avenue in Manahawkin at 5 p.m.


A sparsely attended New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council meeting in Galloway Township on January 4, 2024, where regulatory updates on fluke, sea bass and porgies were discussed.