NJ DEP Opposes Federal Fluke Cuts

On Friday, January 27, at 10 a.m., Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin and U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone joined dozens of members of New Jersey’s fishing community, state legislators, and local officials at Fisherman’s Supply Co. in Point Pleasant Beach to announce their opposition to proposed federal cuts for summer flounder, petitioning for status quo for the 2017 fluke regulations.

The press conference was in response to votes last month by the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council that could reduce New Jersey’s recreational harvest limit for summer flounder, or fluke, by as much as 50 percent, which would have dramatic, adverse impacts to the state’s fishing industry and shore tourism.

“Fishing is a part of the tourism,” said Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo. “Telling a tourist they can’t catch a fluke is like telling them they can’t eat a Jersey tomato.”

Captain Jeff Gutman, owner/operator of the Voyager out of Point Pleasant said, “The fluke fishery is the backbone of the New Jersey recreational fishery, it’s one of the first fisheries that children are introduced to, and is a true family activity. These draconian measures will doom an already hurting recreational fishing industry and deny the public access to what we know is a healthy fishery.”

Captain Jeff Gutman of the Voyager spoke passionately about the importance of fluke fishing as a family activity and the “backbone of the New Jersey recreational fishery.” Photo by Chris Megan.

“This is an unprecedented level of cooperation and one of the few times I can recall that stakeholders have been allowed this level of participation at the table, and I hope we will see the trend continue. I hope that this is the start of a new direction, one based on cooperation not confrontation,” said Nick Cicero, founding board member of the Save The Summer Flounder Fishery Foundation. “Our focus was, and always will be about what’s best for the resource, and how we can ensure that it remains healthy and accessible for future generations. I hope that this is the beginning of a new blueprint for dealing with issues as complicated as managing a fishery that is in a constant state of change and has to satisfy so many different expectations.”

“It was great to see the fishing community come together, and to have our voices heard,” said On The Water Publisher Chris Megan. “I look forward to seeing a more sustainable plan that allows the recreational fishing industry to thrive while keeping the fluke population healthy for generations to come.”





  1. Bob

    A healthy fishery? Try fishing for Fluke. It’s all about the the almighty dollar. In years to come they will be no fish for our next generations. I am a recreational fisherman who is totally against overfishing…

  2. PH

    Fix the commercial fishery regulations and the ‘offshore’ harvesting of fluke that’s wiping out the populations…not the recreational rod and reel anglers who catch a small % of the overall take and who support and industry that relies on this for their livelyhoods.

    • Mike

      I agree, go to the supermarket and look at the size of the flounder fillets.
      I don’t buy it because most of it is from undersized fish. Oh those regulations are just for recreational fisherman not the commercial guys.


      I agree PH the commercial fisheries catch thousands of under sized fish and call them by-catch .You can see these small fluke in your local super market any day of the week or year for that matter .Myself like you a rod & reel fisherman may not even catch a legal size fish all season when these netters bring there by catch to market for sale .I have only caught 2 legal sized fluke over the past 3 years throwing back 50 or more undersized fich every time I go fishing so who is being punished for there by catch the rod & reel guy who takes his kids out for the weekend to enjoy the fresh air time together doing something that should be healthy and fun and catch dinner for the evening. just say no to drugs and enjoy fishing and catching legal fishes in NJ

    • .

      I totally agree with you PH halt the commerical fishing for three to even 5 years and watch everything come back even the huge craokers which have dispeared as well as the sea trout but as we know its all about the big dollar which holds up everything. Fishing with my family use to be great but now…its like no one wants to join in because of the uncertainty of not being able to catch anything anymore.

  3. JS

    2016 was my worst year of fluke fishing in 60 years. Fished from north end to south end of NJ and Delaware Bay. Fished on personal , Charter and Party Boats. Most anglers at docks bringing back 1 or 2 keepers at best with many “skunked”.”Good” days are an exception. Have had many days with numerous shorts- one with 35 shorts caught personally. Seems that few Keepers making it back to inshore grounds as compared to past decades . There are consistent catches of over 20 ” fish is at Old Grounds off of Delaware where minimal commercial activity takes place. Selling boat as New Jersey has little to offer for inshore fishing vs. annual costs related to boat.

  4. Marc

    Local influence on a regional fishery always fails. The local pool of voices and their local data has a biased lens. Let the federal fisheries biologists guide this decision. Striped bass are the classic example……cod being another. One or two seasons, or one or two states, does not tell the full story.

  5. RSM

    I saw Chris Megan’s call for a sustainable fluke fishery, but it has to be recognized that both NY and NJ have substantially overfished their quota allotment of fluke for a number of years running now. The approval of Option V in the recent ASMFC vote, if actually adopted, will allocate almost 90% of the East coast fluke quota to the NJ, NY, CT area leaving the rest of the Atlantic coast paying for the overfishing of NY & NJ. And Option V will not achieve the required reduction to the fishery. Why not support management state-by-state, and then those states who management the resource quota properly will not be forced to support those states who do not.

  6. John West

    Can anyone justify unregulated trawlers and regulated recreational take? here, we are all preaching to the choir… everyone here is of the same mind. How do we put our messages together to make a point that might be heard? Its not the recreational pressure.. its the industrial pressure thats thinning the stocks. Time to get John Oliver on it…. nah.. he’s got bigger fish to fry!


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