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Fluke and Sea Bass Seasons Slated to Open

by Paul Haertel
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association May 2017 Newsletter)

The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council met on 4/13 and set the sea bass regulations for this year. The season will open on 5/26 and extend through 6/18 with a ten-fish bag limit at 12 ½”. The season will then be closed through 6/30. It will reopen on 7/1 and extend through 8/31 but with a two-fish limit at 12 ½”. It will then be closed through 10/21. The season will then reopen on 10/22 and end on 12/31 with a 15-fish bag limit and a 12 ½” size limit. Last year during the fall season we had a 13” size limit but by shortening the season by just a few days we were allowed to reduce the size limit to 12 ½”. Though the regulations have been set, they are subject to change for better or worse depending on what is decided at the ASMFC/MAFMC joint meeting on 5/10.

The NJMFC took no further action on the fluke regulations as they await the ruling on our State’s appeal to the ASMFC. Therefore, as of now our regulations will remain exactly the same as they were in 2016. The season will begin on 5/21 and end on 9/25 with a 5-fish bag limit at 18”. This regulation is subject to change depending on the ruling of our appeal.

NOAA Fisheries proposes revised commercial black sea bass quotas for the 2017 fishing year and projected specifications for 2018. Based on updated information on the status of the stock, we are proposing a 53 percent increase in the 2017 commercial quota established in 2015.

NOAA also proposes to remove the accountability measure in the commercial sector that was initially implemented at the start of the fishing year to account for perceived 2015 overages. Updated scientific information regarding the black sea bass stock indicates that higher catch limits should be implemented to obtain optimum yield, and that the accountability measure is no longer necessary or appropriate.

NOAA works in partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and use the best available scientific information to develop management measures that prevent overfishing while obtaining optimum yield from black sea bass stocks.

Read the proposed rule as published today in the Federal Register. Supporting documents for this rule are available on our website. Comments on this rule must be received by 5 pm on May 1, 2017. Refer to the JCAA Facebook page for up to the minute changes on any of the regulations.

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