The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Service has set the dates and locations for two rescheduled public scoping meetings to present upcoming recreational summer flounder fishing regulations. The original meetings were postponed due to the recent snow storms. These will be the best remaining opportunities for stakeholders to ask questions and register comments on the Department’s proposal for size, creel, and season limits for the 2010 season.
The first meeting will be at 6:00 p.m. Monday February 22 at the Tawes Building Room C-1, 580 Taylor Avenue in Annapolis. This flounder scoping meeting we be a part of the Sportfish Advirsory Commision meeting. The second and last public scoping meeting for summer flounder will be at Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury on at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday March 2, in Guerrieri Hall room 101.
The results of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Flounder Management Board meeting on February 2 require a 23.6 percent reduction in recreational fishing pressure in Maryland due to an overage in last year’s catch. However, an apparent improvement in the total fish population allows for an increase in the allowable catch from 61,000 fish to 75,000. The problem is, Maryland anglers apparently harvested as many as 89,000 last year and must reduce their harvest to meet the 2010 target of 75,000 fish.
ASMFC did not approve of splits in minimum sizes and creel limits for coastal and Bay anglers as Maryland has used in the past because the sample sizes and available data have been inadequate for effective monitoring and assessment. Therefore, the options come down to a consistent increase in minimum size and creel limits for the coast and the Bay combined with a choice of options for the timing of the open seasons. There is some good news in this because the minimum size is increasing, DNR may be able to extend the season.
The options on the table include three fish a day of 18.5 inches or more from April 17 to September 21, or the same minimum size with a season of April 24 to September 24, or June 8 to October 16. The fourth option would raise the minimum to 19 inches and extend the season April 17 to November 22.
If you are unable to join DNR staff at one of the two scoping meetings and would like to register a comment, please send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org and include “summer Flounder” in the subject line. You may also fax your comment to Carrie Kennedy at (410) 260-8279.
source: NOAA press release