The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council met March 6 at Galloway Township Library and voted for 2008 summer flounder regulations that impose the state’s largest fluke minimum size ever at 18 inches with the same eight-fluke bag limit during a season from May 24 to Sept. 8. None of the options approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) were cheered by any of about 80 anglers attending the meeting, but a minimum of at least 18 inches was necessary in order to end up with a reasonable season. There wasn’t an option that would have retained last year’s 17-inch minimum that resulted in the quota being exceeded by a large margin – and a 17 ½-inch minimum would have allowed a season of only June 28 to Sept. 8 even with a bag limit of a mere two fluke. Surf fishermen wanted an 18 ½-inch minimum that would have provided a season from May 17 to Oct. 6, with a bag limit of eight, as they traditionally get their best shot at larger fluke during the fall. However, the United Boatmen argued against that as they feared the state would go way over the greatly reduced quota if the season lasted that long. That’s what happened in New York last year, with the result that the state had to shut down its fluke fishery in September in order to avoid such a huge overage that there would be virtually no season in 2008.
P.S.: Still no decision in N.Y on summer flounder regulations.