Mike

2019 Blackfish Regs

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Blackfish Regulations to Tighten in N.J. 

Minimum sizes, open seasons affected 

By Daniel Nee 

Anglers targeting tautog, commonly known as "tog" or blackfish, will face more stringent regulations on the species following a decision made Thursday by the state Marine Fisheries Council.

Federal regulators ordered New Jersey officials to reduce the recreational harvest of the popular food and sport fish by 53 percent, and council members complied by reducing the length of the open season on the species, as well as upping the minimum size limit.

"There's no good option," said council member Dr. Patrick F. Donnelly, of Brick.

The council met in Galloway Township Thursday to vote on a plan to reduce the annual harvest.

"We cut out of every season, a little bit here, a little bit there," he said.

In the end, council members approved a relatively complicated slate of regulations for blackfish, which opens and closes the seasons multiple times per year. The size limit will remain at 15 inches all year long, up from the current minimum size of 14 inches. Anglers will also be able to take fewer fish home.

The regulations approved are:

Date/Season
Size Limit
Bag (Possession) Limit

Jan. 1 - Feb. 28
15 inches
4 fish

March
CLOSED

April
15 inches
4 fish

May 1 - July 26
CLOSED

July 27 - Aug. 30
15 inches
1 fish

Sept. 1 - Oct. 17
CLOSED

Oct. 18 - Nov. 15
15 inches
1 fish

Nov. 16 - Dec. 31
15 inches
4 fish

The new regulations did not sit well with local party and charter boat captains, who said the reduction in season length, as well as the possession limit, could cost business in already troubled economic times.

"The customers are so used to having two more fish, and now we're going down to four," said Captain Ken Namowitz of the Mimi VI party boat, which sails from Point Pleasant Beach. "For us to get that one extra fish is a livelihood."

Other skippers decried the fact that boats from New York routinely fish in New Jersey's waters, including commercial vessels, affecting the local blackfish populations.

"We're getting a lot of hell from the New York sector. There's zero enforcement going on," said Capt. Chris Hueth of the Big Mohawk party boat, which sails from Belmar. "Their season is closed right now, and they're still fishing. What's taking place in the ocean, and I'm there everyday, is nuts. Guys are commercially fishing this stuff, and bringing it back to New York."

"We're getting penalized for somebody else's greed," Hueth added.

For now, there's no going back. The council has approved the regulations, which were required to be in place Jan. 1, according to Gilbert H. Ewing, the council president. Donnelly said the state council had few options after the edict issued by federal regulators to cut the harvest.

"We tried to maintain that fourth fish," Donnelly said.

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They got a limit cut from 5 to 4 (Kenny apparently thinks the limit was 6 LOL)... and lost some time in the Fall 1 fish season when party boats aren't even fishing for tog.

 

Big effing deal.  It is rare that anybody even catches 4 keepers on a NJ party boat.

 

Just close it completely from April 1 to November 16.

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LOL.

 

"The customers are so used to having two more fish, and now we're going down to four," said Captain Ken Namowitz of the Mimi VI party boat, which sails from Point Pleasant Beach.

 

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I agree that it should be shut down April to November. 

 

I also think there needs to be more enforcement about NY boats fishing in NJ.

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13 mins ago, Slacker said:

They got a limit cut from 5 to 4 (Kenny apparently thinks the limit was 6 LOL)... and lost some time in the Fall 1 fish season when party boats aren't even fishing for tog.

 

Big effing deal.  It is rare that anybody even catches 4 keepers on a NJ party boat.

 

Just close it completely from April 1 to November 16.

I have NEVER caught a limit on the Mimi. LMAO. I must suck at fishing.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

3 mins ago, Mike said:

I agree that it should be shut down April to November. 

 

I also think there needs to be more enforcement about NY boats fishing in NJ.

I agree.  Keep Billy40 over on Rockaway reef where he belongs until November 16.

Edited by Slacker
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"The new regulations did not sit well with local party and charter boat captains, who said the reduction in season length, as well as the possession limit, could cost business in already troubled economic times."

 

The economy is pretty much booming. "Troubled economic times"... LOL.  Any excuse.

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20 mins ago, Slayer said:

I have NEVER caught a limit on the Mimi. LMAO. I must suck at fishing.

I once caught a triple limit on the mimi when it was 6 fish..no, maybe i was 1 short of a triple. I didn't orl either. Slacker was there for confirmation.

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5 mins ago, mickrazz said:

I once caught a triple limit on the mimi when it was 6 fish..no, maybe i was 1 short of a triple. I didn't orl either. Slacker was there for confirmation.

I did in fact witness the event.  Personally, I was only able to boat 4 that day.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Cut by 53%? That means more than half, right?

 

How does reducing it from 5 fish to 4 fish accomplish that when I think it would be a stretch to say most party boat folks average, what....ONE keeper per day? Not to mention, on a for hire vessel on those rare days when someone DOES limit out, any keepers they catch after that are distributed like food stamps. 

 

What season days were lost? It's opened on Nov 15th or 16th for years. 

On 1/6/2019 at 0:56 PM, Mike said:

The council met in Galloway Township Thursday to vote on a plan to reduce the annual harvest.

"We cut out of every season, a little bit here, a little bit there," he said.

A little bit here and a little bit there to get to a 53% reduction?   While I'm encouraged that "federal regulators" are finally "forcing" any kind of reduction in blackfish mortality...I'd love for someone to explain to me how reducing the limit from a number people rarely reach to that number minus 1 is going to accomplish a 53% reduction?  The only thing is really changes is the theoretical 'boat limit' - what percentage of party boat trips do you guys figure reaches the 'boat limit' these days? I'm sorry, someone is gonna need to whip out the crayons and scribble this down for me to show me how this accomplishes a 53% reduction. 

 

Chris Hueth is absolutely right - the NY boats come fish inside NJ waters for a month before the NJ season opens - and then they come fish in NJ waters after the NY season ends. There needs to be enforcement in NY and NJ to put a stop to this. The poaching needs to be addresses - sink the boats, auction off their licenses and vehicles - put an end to the professional poaching operations going on out there. 

 

Does is seem weird to anyone else that the NJ Marine Fishery council meets in Galloway Township? Know what else is in Galloway Township? Viking Yachts -and the RFA..all in Galloway Township.  I'm sure it's just coincidence that the people who decide on NJ's fishing regulations have their meetings there....there's probably nobody on those board that works for the RFA or used to work for the RFA.

 

I hope the minutes of this meeting become available, I'd like to hear how low the likelihood that these changes will result in a 53% reduction.

 

TimS

 

 

Edited by TimS
phone
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17 hours ago, Slacker said:

I agree.  Keep Billy40 over on Rockaway reef where he belongs until November 16.

 How much of an effect does the enforcement that does take place , now, have?

He will be pushing custom wrapped golf clubs soon enuff.

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I never understood the NY and NJ season start and end being different.  They should start and end on the same days if they are mostly fishing in the same ponds.

 

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