Pallone and LoBiondo Announce Legislation to Prevent Summer Flounder Quotas Cuts
LONG BRANCH, NJ – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Congressmen Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02) announced that they will introduce new legislation to prevent the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) 2017 and 2018 summer flounder quotas for recreational and commercial fishing from going into effect.
“These cuts are a body blow to the recreational fishing industry in New Jersey and that is why Congress needs to take action,” said Pallone. “The recreational fishing industry contributes over $1 billion to our state’s economy and directly supports 20,000 jobs. The cuts for New Jersey are greater than what NOAA had required for the region, and too many anglers and their families are going to suffer because of them.”
“We are united with the state in fighting these draconian cuts to New Jersey fishermen which allow neighboring states to freely pillage our waters at more favorable limits,” said LoBiondo. “The use of questionable methodologies and outdated science by NOAA bureaucrats will cut our fishing industry off at the knees. This bipartisan legislation is the next effort in our fight against these severely flawed quotas.”
Under the NOAA quotas, the summer flounder Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) was reduced 29% in 2017 and 16% in 2018. The recreational and commercial limits were both reduced by approximately 30% in 2017 and 16% in 2018. The Pallone-LoBiondo legislation would maintain the 2016 quota levels and require that NOAA conduct a new assessment before issuing new quotas.
Pallone and LoBiondo recognize the importance of our fishermen to the economies of coastal communities and the state of New Jersey as a whole. Last month, Pallone and LoBiondo and a bipartisan group from the New Jersey Congressional delegation sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker asking her to prevent rulemaking that would reduce the summer flounder quotas for recreational and commercial fishing from going into effect. The letter asked the Secretary to direct NOAA Fisheries to reexamine its methodologies and conduct a new benchmark summer flounder assessment before making any decision to reduce summer flounder quotas.
Recently Pallone appeared before the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to reiterate his opposition to NOAA’s quota reductions because of the harm they would cause New Jersey coastal communities. Pallone and Senator Booker also sent a letter to NOAA Fisheries about its proposal to reduce the ABC recreational and commercial quotas for summer flounder in 2017 and 2018. The New Jersey lawmakers requested that NOAA Fisheries postpone any decision on reducing summer flounder quotas until it conducts a new benchmark summer flounder assessment.