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NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed 2020 Recreational Rules for Summer Flounder

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NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed 2020 Recreational Rules for Summer Flounder

We propose to continue the conservation equivalency approach for the summer flounder recreational fishery, in which states or regions develop minimum sizes, possession limits, and fishing seasons that will achieve the necessary level of conservation. Both the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission recommended continuing conservation equivalency in 2020.

The proposed rule contains additional details on conservation equivalency, including what measures would be put in place if the Commission does not ultimately recommended conservation equivalency.

If approved conservation equivalency expires at the end of the fishing year (December 31). The non-preferred coastwide measures become effective January 1.

Read the proposed rule as published in the Federal Register today.

The comment period is open through April 21. Submit your comments through the e-rulemaking portal.

Illustrious Member Registered
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4103

Here is a comment/suggestion...

Teach the NC Fishcrats the difference between Summer and Southern flounder instead of just closing both down

Reputable Member Registered
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 298

A few notes from this:

"Based on the Council's and the Board's recommendations, and as part of the conservation equivalency process, NMFS also proposes a suite of non-preferred coastwide measures identified by the Council and Board, which would be in effect should NMFS not approve conservation equivalency. These measures are expected to constrain the overall recreational landings to the 2020 recreational harvest limit, should conservation equivalency be disapproved based on the Commission's recommendation letter.

For 2020, non-preferred coastwide measures approved by the Council and Board are a 19-inch (48.3-cm) minimum fish size, a four-fish per person possession limit, and an open season from May 15-September 15. These measures are identical to the non-preferred 2019 coastwide measures. The coastwide measures become the default management measures in the subsequent fishing year, in this case 2021, until the joint process establishes either coastwide or conservation equivalency measures for the next year.

The 2020 precautionary default measures recommended by the Council and Board are identical to those in place for 2019: A 20.0-inch (50.8-cm) minimum fish size; a two-fish per person possession limit; and an open season of July 1-August 31, 2020. These measures may be assigned by the Commission if conservation equivalency is approved but a state or region does not submit a conservationally equivilent proposal.

Similar to 2016-2019, the 2020 management program adopted by the Commission divides the coastline into six management regions: (1) Massachusetts; (2) Rhode Island; (3) Connecticut-New York; (4) New Jersey; (5) Delaware-Virginia; and (6) North Carolina. Each state within a region must implement identical or equivalent measures (size limits, bag limit, and fishing season length), and the combination of those measures must be sufficient to constrain landings to the recreational harvest limit.

Through the Commission process, states may submit proposals for conservationally equivalent measures that would maintain status quo harvest levels relative to the preliminary 2019 recreational harvest. Proposals for conservationally equivalent state measures will be reviewed by the Board's Technical Committee in late March, and the Board will consider final approval in early April 2020. Following the Board's consideration of final 2019 state measures, the Commission must submit a letter to NMFS stating whether the states have met the conservation objectives under Addendum XXXII to the Commission's Interstate FMP and that catch is expected to constrain catch to the 2020 recreational harvest limit. Once that letter is received, NMFS will be able to publish a final recreational management measures rule with a conservation equivalency determination for 2020."

So it sounds like the state's can recommend a different plan for 2021 if they think it will adequately reduce the harvest (not trying to argue with everyone about whether the harvest should be reduced in the first place, everyone has their opinion on that).

"The FMP limits the choices for the types of measures to minimum and/or maximum fish size, per angler possession limit, and fishing season."

Just for discussion: If you had it your way, AND assuming you had to get to the same overall harvest that they want, which route would you want to go? (Just making up these rules as I'm not a marine biologist)

A) Min/Max fish size (longer season, big bag limits, but the slot for flounder is something really narrow like 21"-23")

B) Per angler possession limit (longer 3-month season, wider slot maybe 19"-26", but you can only keep one fish per person like drum)

C) Fishing Season (huge slot range, big limits like 15/person/day, really short like 2-week season)

Eminent Member Registered
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 43

A bag or season limit is not necessary with a 19 or 20 inch slot.

Oliver John
New Member Registered
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1

A bag or season limit is not necessary