View Full Version : Opinions on 2008 Md. flounder regulations so far

08-29-2008, 12:34 AM
Maryland has these flounder rules for one season. This just stinks more every year, how are we supposed to bring any keepers home?

OCEAN PINES -- As part of an effort to restore summer flounder populations along the East Coast, fishermen in Maryland, like those in neighboring states, will face stricter regulations in 2008.

Proposed summer flounder regulations presented by Maryland Department of Natural Resources officials Wednesday would allow fishermen three fish at 17.5 inches in 2008.

"We're hoping if we take the pain this year, hopefully we can ease it up next year," said Steve Doctor, a biologist with the DNR Fisheries Service. "We're bound by the Magnuson-Stevens (Fishery Conservation) Act saying we've got to revive this fishery in five years."

Doctor and Mike Luisi of the Fisheries Service told about 30 people at a public meeting Wednesday that according to statistics, summer flounder were still overfished. According to a Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey, Maryland had 139,796 summer flounder landings in 2007 even though it had targeted just 72,000. The Magnuson-Stevens Act states that the summer flounder fishery should be recovered by 2013, Luisi said.

"The stock is still considered to be overfished," he said. "We only have five years to almost double the biomass currently there. We're just not doing it at this point."

For the last three years, summer flounder regulations have permitted Maryland's recreational fishermen four fish at 15.5 inches in the Atlantic Ocean and coastal bays, and two fish at 15 inches in the Chesapeake Bay. Luisi presented several options for 2008 regulations, none of which permitted summer flounder smaller than 16.5 inches.

The majority of those present at the public meeting indicated that of the choices presented, which ranged from one fish at 16.5 inches to four fish at 17.5 inches, they preferred the option that would give fishermen three fish at 17.5 inches. Those regulations would be statewide, for the ocean and bays.

Some, however, were concerned with a 17.5-inch requirement because they found that most of the local flounder were under 14 inches.

"Most of our fish are 12 to 14 inches," said Bob Gower, owner of a local charter boat.

Nevertheless, he understood the need for Maryland to stay below its 2008 quota of 60,500 summer flounder.

"If we don't stay under, we won't get anything next year," he said.

Luisi agreed that Maryland fishermen would be in danger if they brought in more than 60,500 flounder in 2008.

"If we go over the quota there might be a moratorium," he said. "It's very serious. If we go over next year, it's going to be a bad-case scenario."

He said that fishermen should not have trouble finding fish that would fulfill the 17.5 inch requirement because flounder above 17 inches were more prevalent then those in the 15 inch to 17 inch range.

"There's a window between 15 and 17 inches where there aren't many fish," he said. "There were two bad year classes."

Luisi pointed out that along with Maryland, other states were under tight summer flounder restrictions in 2008.

"Every state except for Massachusetts is taking a reduction," Luisi said. "It's not just Maryland."

This year's size regulations are expected include a 19-inch requirement in Virginia and an 18.5-inch requirement in New Jersey, Doctor said.

Maryland's proposed 2008 summer flounder restrictions will be reviewed by a technical committee and should be finalized by June 1.

08-30-2008, 10:21 AM
My uncle lives down there, and he rants all the time about it. I also read something used in the discussions up here that says the bigger flounder are females. So all we are doing when we catch bigger fish is removing the female breeders? How is that any kind of smart management?