Pallone Supports NJ’s Flounder Recommendations in Letter to Commerce Secretary

Jun 23, 2017

Long Branch, NJ – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) sent a letter to U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asking him to consider New Jersey’s response to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) evaluation of the state’s compliance. New Jersey has proposed a summer flounder size limit  of 18 inches, with a 104-day fishing season and a 3 bag limit. The State argues that this change will better preserve the stock by reducing the discard mortality as well as reach conservation equivalency with federal regulations.

“I firmly believe that New Jersey is making every reasonable effort to chart a course forward that adequately balances conservation with the economic needs of fishermen and fishing communities, and I ask that you give the state’s approach a fair and thorough review,” said Pallone.

Congressman Pallone has been a longtime supporter of fisheries and their positive economic impact on coastal communities. Earlier this year, Pallone and a bipartisan group from the New Jersey Congressional delegation sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross regarding the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) vote to approve devastating restrictions on New Jersey’s fishing community. The Congressmen asked Ross to delay any reductions or changes in summer flounder fishing quotas until a new stock assessment can be completed and a new approach can be crafted.

He Appeared 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 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. 

The text of the letter can be found below:

 

  June 23, 2017

The Honorable Wilbur Ross
Secretary
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230

 

Dear Secretary Ross:

I write regarding the ongoing federal review of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) finding that the state of New Jersey is out of compliance with ASMFC’s Addendum XXVIII to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Interstate Fishery Management Plan. I firmly believe that New Jersey is making every reasonable effort to chart a course forward that adequately balances conservation with the economic needs of fishermen and fishing communities, and I ask that you give the state’s approach a fair and thorough review. 

New Jersey has proposed that the summer flounder size limit be decreased to 18 inches, with a 104-day fishing season and a 3 bag limit. The state is arguing that its summer flounder regulations reach conservation equivalency with federal regulations, and that its regulations will actually preserve the stock by reducing discard mortality.

I respectfully request that you carefully consider the state’s arguments and technical data as you make your decision about whether to find New Jersey out of compliance. Imposing a moratorium on summer flounder fishing in New Jersey would have a devastating impact on the economies of coastal communities that rely on the recreational fishing industry in my Congressional district. Additionally, reaching that determination while there continue to be compelling technical and scientific reasons to question the initial decision to cut summer flounder quotas will further erode anglers’ trust in entities like ASMFC, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other fisheries management bodies.

Much work needs to be done to reform how we manage our recreational and commercial fisheries, but that work must take into account the facts on the ground and the opinions of those who would be most-directly impacted. I appreciate your consideration of my views, and I hope you will give the argument presented by the state of New Jersey your careful consideration.

 

                                                                        Sincerely,
 

                                                                        FRANK PALLONE, JR.
                                                                        Member of Congress

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