Nils Stolpe – Summer Flounder Management – Can it get any worse?

Summer flounder, also known as fluke, support recreational and commercial fisheries that are among the most important in the mid-Atlantic and southern New England. They have been a mainstay of recreational fishermen either from their own boats or on for-hire vessels, support a large directed commercial fishery, their incidental harvest is important in other fisheries and they are near the top of the list of must-have meals for summer visits to the shore. Hundreds of party and charter boats depend on them for all or for part of their annual incomes, thousands of private boats seek them out every summer, and much of the business bait and tackle shops do every year depends on the fishery. Hundreds of commercial fishing boats target them or take them incidentally in other fisheries.,, The summer flounder stock has gone from having the highest biomass in 50 years to being on the verge of overfishing in the five years between 2011 and 2016. While no one seems to know why the management program hadn’t been working, the SSC did come up with several possibilities. These included “sources of (fishing) mortality that are not fully accounted in the assessment. These could include under-estimation of discards in both the commercial and recreational fisheries and lower estimates of mortality rates applied to the discards than are actually occurring.” Read the full article here 15:27

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