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Rhodester

Summer Flounder closure as of Aug. 26, 2000 ?

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My friend got a notice from NMFS that the Fluke fishery will close for everybody everywhere as of Aug 26 ? and that Delaware is closed to any future Fluke landings as of today ? The recent loss by NMFS to the NRDC will cause the closure of the 2000 season much earlier than expected. I hope this is just a bad dream.

Are we victims of our own good intentions and the old catch 22 ?

I hope someone knows more about this and that it is all just rumor....

Rhodester

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Rhodester, if this is true, it would indeed be sad for the folks making a living from the fluke fishery. For the semi-commercial Party Boat fisheries, it's one of the last reliable fisheries...second only to the bluefish, at least in my limited scope. Now for the question....... Who's fault was the gross overharvest that began the lawsuit that forced the closure? I think that year (98), both comms and recs went over thier quota...anyone know how much each went over? Not that blame matters that much, but to prevent this from happening again, the offenders need to be "reminded" in the future. Also, does a directed net closure also disallow any bycatch of fluke to be sold? So many question! wink.gif

 

One more thing, what are the chances that we could separate the party/charter boat caught fish into their own category? It would be the easiest one to count and judge angler success, each trip the patrons are counted, on the way back to the dock, the fish could be counted...and the quota, their own in a perfect world, could be closed immediately upon being reached. It sucks that the small boater who gets out twice a month is fishing the same quota that party boats w/ 50+ folks sailing twice a day is fishing. Ah, Rhodester, you certainly have my condolances, just dealing with this once in a blue moon makes my head hurt! eek.gif

 

TimS

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Tim,

What happened was that there was a "constant harvest strategy" in place that is supposed to keep the harvests at around 18 million pounds split 60/40 commercial/rec while the stock rebuilds at a set rate of X. Like with Striped Bass, reecreational Fluke quotas are a target that has a two to three year lag time for semi-acurate numbers associated with it.

The commercial harvests have been right around 11 million pounds a year with paybacks occuring in a few states each year but not bad really... the quotas have been within 5% to 7% of the rebuilding schedule...

However the recreational target of 7.4 million pounds has been exceeded every year for the last 6 and by as much as 100 % in 1997 ( 14 million) due to the very abundant and very healthy stocks. Nobody's fault, really except the managers that are estimating the biomass of the Fluke to be about 1/2 to 1/3 of what it probably really is by now...It looks bad on paper and the NRDC has seized on this opportunity to make hay while the sun shines and look like they are earning their grant monies.

The recreational side of the equation is the percieved problem here...but keeping them at 7.4 million pounds a year with the amount of Fluke and anglers that are good a catching them, is going to be next to impossible unless the courts shut the entire fishery down.

If that happens then the commercial fishermen will have just cause to sue or whatever, due to the fact that they did not overharvest their quotas and will suffer for something that they didn't do.

Hard cap poundage quotas can be realized and done in "real time" in the commercial fishery, but recreational fisheries can not....This is at the heart of the problem now and has no good, fair and just solution other than getting the correct data and applying it correctly..

All this is both unnecessary and tragic as the managers are clueless or so it seems...

More to come....

Tim, there is no blame or fault here as both sides are trying their best and it shows after 10 years...

Rhodester

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Rhodster you inability to weigh in with at least mention of the other side certain smells like a desire to mislead. The current framework allows for something like an 18% chance of success. The crux of the matter is how one defines a recovered stock. Further, at least some of the scientists claim we are living on borrowed time, as two good year classes are now with us, and there is not too much younger after they are gone. True? False?

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Rhodester, kinda how I figured it, the commercially (reported) catch is much easier to get a total for than the recreational numbers. It's sad, but like you said, it was all done within what the recreational anglers were allowed by the people who have been entrusted with the welfare of our fisheries.

 

You bring up a good point! So, commercials can sue if they are shut out of fishery that they didn't break the rules while fishing? If that's the case, wouldn't all the recreationals, party, and charter boats be suing the commercial fishermen for the very long list of fish devastated by them? Cod for example? Swordfish..but no one really directly fishes for them, they are too far gone. Sharks? Porgies? Blackfish? Whiting? Ling? These are all fish that recreationals took a few at a time while the netters dragged the bottom till it was void of all life...can't the party boats/charter boats sue the commercials? Can't we non-commercials? By the same token, if the commercials are able to sue because they followed the rules, aren't the recs protected as they simply followed the rules? It gets aweful ugly!

 

What's the difference, why would they sue anyway, there's millions of dollars waiting for them as soon as a species is devastated! Last thing I read was the cod fishermen were getting up to $1500 a day for not fishing while the stocks rebuild...that's better than they're going to do in a lawsuit! Not too many industries are subsidized when greed and mismanagment cause their source of income to dry up...matter of fact, there's only one I know of wink.gif

 

JohnP, I thought he addressed the other side clearly, their numbers are instantly and easily added, they have been fishing within an acceptible percentage of their quota (according the Rhodester, I don't doubt him, and I don't know the actual numbers). I live by the beach, I watch the steady stream of boats leave twice daily loaded to the hilt with fluke fishermen...it only stands to reason that they will eventually have an impact. At least recs can protect year classes with the minimum sizes...nets kill 'em all, big and small.

 

TimS

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Well this is a kick int he teeth thats for sure. Seems they set the limits and then everyone fishes to the limits. 98 was an amazing year in numbers and size of fish. So we fished to the limits and went way over.........that tells me the limits are wrong. Why are they wrong? So that the head boat industry can keep their boats full, no one will fish for 2 fluke. but give them 8 or so and they will come out. So we get screwed for fishing to limits that were set too high to begin with.....wanna talk limits that are too high? How about weakfish 14 fish a day, thats a joke.......

 

Well Rhodester I would be unhappy about this precedent if I were you this could open the door to law suits running at the commercial sector. In this country if you cant get legislation passed sue and get a court to enforce your point of view......its that simple........and with all the fisheries wiped out as Tim mentioned, I dont think this would be a good precedent to set.......

 

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John M

johnm@stripersonline.com

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I know the deal. I've watched a gazillion times as the loaded party boats leave Manasquan, Shark River, and Atlantic Highlands. Some times I was on the boat. We recs can make a difference, good or bad. How many times does it appear you could walk from boat to boat, from the Ammunition Pier to the Hook? Thats all well and good, but if its true we are only looking at 1-2 good year classes, we could be in for big trouble in a couple of years. And our track record? We overfished our quota for how many years running? Now there is a call for rec and comm voices to lock arms and fight then regulators? Suppose the scientists are right, even partially so?

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JohnP, I'm with you on that one! I would much rather that the scientists would set all limits to err on the side of safety!!! Instead, every last fish is squeezed out of the quotas, all fishing towards numbers that are most likely based on the best case scenario...which is so often wrong later down the road. I've said it before, they should set the quotas based on the worst possible scenario, set them based on the absolute lowest possible biomass calculations instead of the highest possible calculation. Greed motivates far better than common sense, greed from recs who want a full cooler and greed from commercials who want a full wallet. It seems if there is one fish left on the table for saftey's sake, someone wants it in their quota.

 

Some recent humorous (but sad) ones. The new porgy limits....on recs only. The new blue water limits, 1 marlin? 1 tuna? Rediculous...and they proposed that all charters targeting marlin should have an observer onboard, payed by the captain? Something like that, I forget, but quite absurd.

 

JohnM, the weakfish limit of 14 is gross, there's a reason somewhere for it, I'm sure. Maybe in times when the average weakfish was only 14" long 14 was somehow justified...not now. They should be regulated now while they are here instead of emergency regulations when they are gone again...I for one missed those snaggletoothed pretty boys when they were scarce, they are a lot of fun!

 

TimS

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Tim, dont forget while oyu catch your one tuna or one marlin (if your lucky) One longliner will kill more fish in one trip that an entire fleet of sportfishers in an entire year........but as usual the recs take it in the shorts and the comms take more and more.......

 

Rhodester says that NJ "stole" the commercial quota for stripers. If thats stealing then what are the blue water regs? your getting me fired up Tim smile.gif

 

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John M

johnm@stripersonline.com

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The possession limits on yellowfin, bigeye, albacore is 3 fish per angler per day with a fork lenght of 27". And you need a permit from the NMFS. The possession limits on Blue Marlin is 99inches lower jaw fork lenght...White Marlin 66inches lower jaw fork lenght....you are allowed 1 of either.

 

But why keep a marlin??????? RELEASE!!!!!

 

 

As to the closure of the summer flounder fishery..I have heard nothing from anyone...and I have ears in the charter/party boat crowd....no one is saying anything..so I think that was some misinformation your friend got Rhodester....unless their is a closure in federal waters...but in the state of NJ, its a go for the season.

 

Phil L

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Talked to Bob Beal, ASMFC...

I read the notice and it says that by August NMFS will be readjusting the Fluke quotas for everyone to attempt to reach the 50 % chance of meeting the F target for 2000 number as ordered by the Appeals Court. Some States may have to close their fisheries and pay back FOR REAL this time any overages that occur...Delaware has already caught their quotas and the federaly permited fishermen can no longer land fish in their State.

There are many unseen problems here...

Overages for 1999 and 2000 will be paid back in 2001 so there may not be much of a season for anyone next year...I am hoping that I am totaly wrong here...

Its a go in NJ..? OK ..but if there are paybacks then they will be next year and they may be severe...

This is all stupid and unnecessary as the Fluke populations are as healthy now as anyone alive and still fishing can remember...I tend to believe them and my own eyes but NMFS doesn't trust anyone....

More to come and I hope that I am totaly wrong on this one...

Rhodester

 

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Phil I agree release all Marlin. I never killed one as an angler, though I did as mate frown.gif Anyway I am not saying kepe the fish what I am saying is that the recs got a tough limit while the comms are out there slaughtering 1000's of fish with thier long lines......

 

As for the Fluke the population seems okay to me, lots of fish in all sizes.......I would rather err on the side of convervation but this seems alittle extreme....

 

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John M

johnm@stripersonline.com

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Is it just me or is there a trend here. It seems that the only species of fish getting heavily regulated are those targeted by recreational fishermen. The commercials don't seem to get tampered with very much. Regulate the stripers. REgulate the fluke. Regulate the blackfish. Leave everything that commercials wipe out alone and let them continue their mass carnage.

 

Or am I just jaded because my ear and sympathies are most in line with the recreational sector?

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Excellent point on the regulation system. When was the last time anyone went out to the mud hole & caught some whiting for the table 10 - 15 years? No regulations...and every time a small school shows up the comms. are out to wipe them out. frown.gif How about cod?? I rember fishing for them when I was a kid, now it's a very unusual catch.

My 2 cents.

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come on guys if the recs didnt fish them out they would still be there smile.gif Its stuff like that they want us to forget, things like there used to be a winter fishery in NJ. Or that there were abundant red drum in NJ waters once upon a time, or that they used to have a commerfcial fishery for stripers in TEXAS!!!!!! They take these things away ask us to forget.......

 

I read an artcile a few years ago about the grand banks and what deplorable shape the bottom is in there and that little know bottom dewelllars such as the Barn Door Ray are almost gone becasue of the comms......but we dont wanna talk about that after all the little old lady in Ohio has a right to eat a piece of cod, so what if they destroy the enviroment to get it right? Its her right .......opppps I am getting fired up here........

 

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John M

johnm@stripersonline.com

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