The recreational fishing community is facing a crisis with the latest quota reduction for the summer flounder fishery set to take effect in 2017. Upon adoption of the 40% reduction Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) immediately contacted incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to discuss the impact this will have on all phases of the coastal fishing communities from Massachusetts to North Carolina.

"Senator Schumer recognized the gravity of the problem and requested a meeting the next day to discuss leading an effort to avert what will be a death blow to an industry already struggling under the burden of over-regulation," Donofrio said.

The following day the Senator held a press conference with fishing advocates and industry leaders from the fishing community at Captree State Park on Long Island to publicly announce his effort to reach out to the newly nominated Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, to voice his concerns about the impact of the latest regulatory actions by NOAA Fisheries and the regional fishery management councils.

Donofrio, who stood beside Schumer and other fishermen at Captree on December 28, said the Senator will be requesting an emergency action by the Secretary to halt the quota reduction while an expedited fluke population assessment can be completed in 2017 and a review of the recreational landings data is instituted.

Fishermen and scientists alike have little confidence in the assessment and landings data driving this latest quote reduction, which has prompted renewed action by the senior Senator from New York.

"I will reach out to President-elect Donald Trump, Ross and whoever I have to to get this changed," Sen. Schumer said during the press conference, providing a glimmer of hope those in attendance and fishermen and industry members all along the Atlantic Coast.

Few issues have galvanized fishermen like the impending summer flounder quota reduction and that has been evidenced by the response to a petition campaign started by RFA member Tom Trageser of Brick, NJ.

"I’ve attended council meetings and watched what goes on, spoken with administrators from the NMFS and seen our ability to go fishing continually whittled away using questionable data," said Trageser, adding "and I just had to do something."

Within days of introducing the campaign on social media shortly before Christmas, Trageser’s petition has garnered thousands of signatures from concerned fishermen and the numbers continue to rise rapidly. You can sign the petition online or go to the newly created Facebook page "Save Fluke Fishing" to weigh in with other interested anglers.

Petitions may also be found at local tackle shops throughout the New York, New Jersey region.