NOAA Fisheries and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Fishery Management Council are considering cutting 2017 summer flounder recreational quota by up to 40%
Unfortunately, this decision is being based on an outdated benchmark stock assessment from 2013.
If this reduction goes through, it means less time on the water for one of the region’s most popular recreational fisheries. Recreational fishing for summer flounder employs over 10,000 people and generates over $1 billion in revenue. A forty percent reduction would be devastating to local economies.
Fortunately, a desperately needed new benchmark stock assessment for summer flounder, including findings from Cornell University, is expected in early 2017.
Given this new information will provide a more accurate indication of the true health of the fishery, NOAA Fisheries should delay such a drastic and potentially catastrophic reduction until the new stock assessment is complete.
While all anglers support conservation, NOAA’s decision seems rushed and overly harsh.