Comments Sought on Proposed 2017 Fluke Regs

NOAA Fisheries is seeking comments on proposed recreational fishery management measures for the 2017 summer flounder (fluke) and scup (porgy) fisheries.

The 2017 summer flounder recreational harvest limit has been set at 3.77 million lbs. (1,710 mt), a decrease from the 2016 harvest limit of 5.42 million lbs. (2,458 mt). Accordingly, more restrictive management measures are necessary in 2017 to reduce landings by approximately 41% compared to 2016 landings, to ensure that the landings do not exceed the recreational harvest limit.

NOAA Is not proposing any changes to the recreational measures for the 2017 recreational scup fishery. The current measures are expected to keep landings within the 2017 recreational harvest limit.

NOAA is proposing black sea bass recreational management measures under a separate rulemaking action.

Summer Flounder Proposed Measures

For summer flounder, in order to prevent overfishing in 2017, NOAA is proposing stricter management measures than those in place in 2016. These measures would apply to all federally permitted party/charter vessels with applicable summer flounder and scup permits, regardless of where they fish, unless the state in which they land implements measures that are more restrictive.

NOAA’s proposed recommended coastwide management measures for summer flounder inlcude:

  • 19” minimum fish size
  • Four fish per person possession limit
  • Open season from June 1-September 15

NOAA proposes to continue the “conservation equivalency” approach, in which states develop state or regional 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.

For state waters, the Commission has reviewed measures submitted by the regions and certified that they are, in combination, the conservation equivalent of the Federal coastwide measures that would prevent overfishing.

Read the proposed rule as published in the Federal Register today, and the Supplemental Information Report on our website.

The comment period is open through May 4.

Submit comments through the e-rulemaking portal or by mailing:

John Bullard, Regional Administrator

Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office

55 Great Republic Drive

Gloucester, MA 01930