Pallone Speaks Out Against NOAA Summer Flounder Quotas
LONG BRANCH, NJ – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) voiced strong opposition to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) final rule on 2017 and 2018 summer flounder quotas released today. Under the rule, the summer flounder Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) would be reduced 29% in 2017 and 16% in 2018. The recreational and commercial limits would both be reduced by approximately 30% in 2017 and 16% in 2018. Pallone will continue his fight against this reduction, and intends to request that the Secretary of Commerce overturns this decision.
“I am extremely disappointed with NOAA's decision to dramatically cut summer flounder quotas. These reductions will harm many coastal communities in New Jersey that rely on the commercial and recreational fishing industries," said Congressman Pallone. "The damage will go beyond the New Jersey fishing industry; the tourism and boating industries will be hurt as well."
"NOAA has relied on inaccurate data to finalize these reductions. Fishermen have sacrificed for years to improve summer flounder biomass, and flounder populations have rebounded. Instead of putting onerous regulations on fishermen just trying to make a living, NOAA should be focused on rebuilding trust and ensuring that the science it uses to guide stock assessments is accurate. I am committed to continuing to work to protect New Jersey fishermen and the valuable economic impact they have on the state."
Pallone has long been a supporter of fisheries and the economies of coastal communities. Last week, 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. Also last week Pallone and Senator Cory Booker 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.
Earlier this year, Congressman Pallone sent a letter to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission calling for fair and less restrictive policies relating to summer flounder. Last year, the Congressman decried NOAA’s final rule on 2016 summer flounder – which also reduced catch limits.