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HaysWalt

Fluke (Summer Flounder) again using the MRFSS data!

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Get ready; tougher fluke rules are coming

 

Published in the Asbury Park Press 11/28/03

 

 

The summer flounder monitoring committee has met and offered advice on 2004 management that confirms New Jersey and New York anglers' fears of more stringent regulations ahead.

 

The committee used Marine Recreational Fishery Statistics Survey fluke landings data from this year, factored in projected landings, considered landings in 1998 for comparison and voted to support status quo with conservation equivalency.

 

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will make the ultimate decisions on the recommendations.

 

Recreational fishermen knew before the monitoring committee met that the recreational harvest limit for next year had been raised to 11.21 million pounds from 9.28 million pounds this year.

 

The problem was the landings as determined by MRFSS through August and the projected landings for the remainder of the year.

 

Christopher M. Moore, deputy director of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, is the key figure in the process, and he delivered his recommendations to the monitoring committee Nov. 17.

 

Moore said that the data indicated that New York will have overfished its quota by 100 percent and New Jersey by 9 percent.

 

"I recommend that the states use conservation equivalency to manage the summer flounder recreational fishery in 2004," Moore told the committee. "As such, I derived state-specific reductions associated with a coastwide recreational harvest limit of 11.21 million pounds for 2004.

 

"Based on 1998 landings and the projected 2003 landings, additional constraints would only be required in New York and New Jersey," he explained. Since New Jersey lands the most fluke of any state in the nation, Moore recommended target landings of 1,736,000 fish in 2004, down from 1,755,000 this year. This would be a 1.1 percent reduction. New Jersey landed 2,728,000 fluke in 1998.

 

New York, however, with its 100 percent overrun this year, is in real trouble. Moore recommended a 48.3 percent reduction with a 2004 landings target of 783,000 fish, down from 1,515,000 this year. New York landed 1,230,000 fish in 1998.

 

For states with 2004 targets close to the 2003 projected landings, Moore recommended that the regulations remain unchanged for next year.

 

"In the other states, I recommend that any relaxation in regulations be considered with caution," he said. "Specifically, states could relax regulations for 2004 to allow for additional harvest, if they were certain that availability of summer flounder and angler avidity remained the same."

 

Moore recommended that Virginia, the third largest harvester, with projected landings of 536,000 fish this year and 1,165,000 fish in 1998, have its target landings figure increased to 741,000 fish.

 

The monitoring committee accepted the recommendations, and further recommended a nonpreferred coastwide option of a four-fluke limit with a minimum size of 17 inches total length and no closed season.

 

The committee's recommended precautionary default measure, which would be put into effect if states did not adopt conservation equivalency, would be one fluke with an 18-inch minimum size and no closed season.

 

Party and charter boat captains and most anglers in New York and New Jersey do not believe that fluke fishing was so good in the New York Bight in May and June that New Jersey could have used 70 percent of its quota by July 1, and New York was already over its quota.

 

The argument will be advanced at the council and commission meetings that the MRFSS data are wrong.

 

Biologists and management officials who support the data put forth the idea at the monitoring committee meeting that one of the reasons for the high landings in New York was that water temperatures were colder in 2003, and this may have moved fish farther north.

 

New Jersey fishermen are arguing, however, that the same cold water, coupled with rain and wind, slowed the inshore migration, cut down on boat launchings and participation in general, and created a poor fishery in May and June.

 

This was not a local situation, but something that happened in south Jersey as well as north Jersey, and brings the whole question of the accuracy of MRFSS data into vivid focus.

 

 

And just how did you do flounder fishing this year?

 

Walt

 

Walt - I edited the title to correct a typo and clarify the "flounder" for us northern guys wink.gif TimS

 

[ 11-29-2003, 06:23 PM: Message edited by: TimS ]

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This is really funny.

 

The only group that did well before late May was the draggers.

 

Everyone I know from the cape to NJ had a terrible spring.

 

Where do they get these numbers?

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flukin sucked this year, I didnt even bother going morethan 3 times this year. Most years I get out at least once a week. I think they just pull numbers out of a hat. I know I've never been asked nothin by anybody.

 

Maybe they just go out on a saturday afternoon and ask all the googs who love to exagerate what they caught/saw confused.gif

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"The monitoring committee accepted the recommendations, and further recommended a nonpreferred coastwide option of a four-fluke limit with a minimum size of 17 inches total length and no closed season"

 

This is crazy.

 

Poor Spring....what about the early fall. First 3 weeks of September were unfishible becasue high winds and surf.

 

IMO the fluke fishing this year was pathetic.

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"The monitoring committee accepted the recommendations, and further recommended a nonpreferred coastwide option of a four-fluke limit with a minimum size of 17 inches total length and no closed season"

 

This is crazy.

 

Poor Spring....what about the early fall. First 3 weeks of September were unfishible becasue high winds and surf.

 

IMO the fluke fishing this year was pathetic.

 

AH, but the numbers say otherwise. Come on fisheries managers, WE NEED BETTER NUMBERS!

 

What's up CaptTB? Hope your new plan gets finalized soon.

 

Walt

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This spring was so poor for both fluking and blackfishing that the joke was "I can't wait to see what kind of numbers the MRFSS dreams up." rolleyes.gif

 

Amazing. It's simply amazing. I can't imagine how anyone deriving a substantial percentage of their income from fluke fishing can not be planning on some form of lawsuit.

 

How can it be that the MRFSS - probably the most wildely inaccurate and incomplete data gathered and used by the federal government - is used supposed to be protecting our natural resources while allowing responsible harvest for profit? Is it that the health of our fisheries is so unimportant that no better method for keeping track of them can be implemented?

 

Is it perhaps a way for the gov't to make those financially involved so fargin' frustrated and angry that they will be allowed to pass some sort of national rec license that requires reporting and log books?

 

It's impossible for me to understand how something this clearly insane is allowed to continue.

 

CaptTB, you wanna meet for breakfast again? smile.gif I'd love to discuss some more things with ya...maybe we could make it a yearly thing wink.gif

 

TimS

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Walt - I edited the title to correct a typo and clarify the "flounder" for us northern guys TimS

 

No problem, but my original thread title was a pun meaning that we are floundering if we use the MRFSS for reliable data. biggrin.gif

 

Hope your change gets more people reading the thread. Thanks, icon14.gif

 

BTW- I never got invited to breakfast crying.gif

 

Walt

 

[ 11-29-2003, 07:41 PM: Message edited by: HaysWalt ]

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A post from Doc Krey on another site. I'm a busy bee tonight. biggrin.gif

 

 

On Wednesday December 3, 2003, from 10 a.m. to noon there will be a joint meeting of MAFMC AND ASMFC to set the flounder regs for 2004. I can tell you know it will be a contentious meeting.

 

It will be at the Sheraton Suites Hotel, 422 Delaware Ave., Wilmington De. 19801 phone 302-654-8300. These meetings are all open to the public and you are able to comment on anything that is being proposed.

 

The recommendation from the moitoring committee is to cut the summer flounder allocation for New Jersey by 1.1% and New York by 48.3%. This is based on MRFSS data that was submitted for review. The kicker with this is that they say that we overfished in May and June for summer flounder. Well, you will recall that the water was toocold in may to fish the ocean or bay for summer flounder. We also had horrible weather on the weekends in June and very few fish were caught .[at least on my boat].

 

Come to the meeting, bring your logs/and or anecdotal reports, and tell these regulatory agencies that the data is flawed.

 

As you know Tony Bogan and I sit on the MAFMC, and we are going to challenge the validity and reliability of the data that is being used to make decisions that will not only effect the recreational fisherman, but the livelihood of head boat and charter captains in New Jersey and New York.

 

The alternatives are even worse, but come to the meeting and see how the process works.

 

Hope to see you there....Gene

 

Keep up the good work Doc.

 

Walt

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Tim, absolutly. (breakfast that is)

 

Guys, keep in mind when you read the preferred alternative and precautionary default measures are not what is going to be implemented. The monitoring committee and Chris Moore are suggesting Consv. equiv., which means letting states pick the regs that meet the needed increases or decreases based on the numbers. (in other words exactly what we have had the last 2 years of each state setting its regs accordingly)

 

The MAFMC is federal and must provide "fall back" and precautionary measures if a problem arises, states do not implement conv. equiv., etc.

 

MRFSS becomes scarier by the minute. You NY guys out there, did you know you had the best May and June of Fluke fishing in 20 years? No? Well that's what MRFSS is saying. The highest landings of Fluke in May and June in the state of NY since 1983 and the second highest landings in May and June in recorded history (only 1983 was higher)

 

Also, did you know you had a total season in the top 8 (or top 5 depending on the final #'s) in history? Not to mention one of the highest landings in pounds ever? No? Well MRFSS says you did so it must be true right?

 

Not to mention NJ doubled the number of fish caught in May and June from last year to this one. (within 2000 fish of exactly double as a matter of fact)

 

Effort (number of trips) Participation (number of anglers) and success per trip and angler all were way above last year, particularly in the party/charter boat and private/rental sector. Funny, I have the number of trips,pass. carried and fish landed from 30-40 party boats from NY and NJ and not only are they down in numbers of trips, number of passengers and number of fish as a group compared to last year,they are down compared to 2001 as well. Nevertheless MRFSS claims NY partyboat anglers made 13,000 more trips in May and June and 23,000 more trips in July and August.

 

Hmmmm...

Have a good one, hopefully I'll see some of you in Deleware next week,

Capt.TB

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Does this mean I get invited to breakfast?

 

Only kidding.

 

Seriously CaptTB, I read some time back that you were looking into a better way of estimating Rec. catch. Any news on that front?

 

Walt

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I would urge as many of you who can make it to attend this meeting.Wednesday,December 3 from 10 to noon.Joint meeting of ASMFC and MAFMC.It will be at the Sheraton Suites Hotel, 422 Delaware Ave.,Wilmington De.19801,302-654-8300.

 

These meetings are open to the public and you will be able to voice your opinion. There is a time that is always scheduled for public comment.

 

Hope to see you there....Gene

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Capt TB - Do rec advocacy groups have access to the primary data and the data collection sheets? If might be illuminating to see where the sampling points were and when and see if, at least, the charter boat operators can verify or contect the data.

 

Maybe a statistician moved a decimal point. I know the biologists & statisticans in NC screwed up some analyses on state southern flounder and the stock assessment went from viable to overfished.

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I would urge as many of you who can make it to attend this meeting.Wednesday,December 3 from 10 to noon.Joint meeting of ASMFC and MAFMC.It will be at the Sheraton Suites Hotel, 422 Delaware Ave.,Wilmington De.19801,302-654-8300.

 

These meetings are open to the public and you will be able to voice your opinion. There is a time that is always scheduled for public comment.

 

Hope to see you there....Gene

 

Just in case some of you don't know, Krayfish's credentials are as follows:

 

RFA,PENNSYLVANIA CHAPTER CHAIRMAN...CAPE MAY CHARTER AND PARTY BOAT CAPTAINS ASSOCIATE...MEMBER INTERNATIONAL GAME FISH ASSOCIATION; PENNSYLVANIA REPRESENTATIVE TO THE MID-ATLANTIC FISHERY MANAGEMENT COUNCIL [MAFMC].ONGOING PROXY TO THE ATLANTIC STATES MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION [ASMFC]

Not to mention past President of West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

 

Welcome to SOL Doc!

 

Walt

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