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At Virginia Meeting, Pallone Urges ASMFC to Support Less Restrictive Policies for Summer Flounder and Sea Bass

February 2, 2016
Press Release

At Key Vote, Pallone Reiterates Need for NJ Fishermen to Receive Fair Treatment

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) reiterated the need for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to support fair and less restrictive policies regarding two important fisheries in New Jersey: summer flounder and sea bass.  At a vote on the Commission’s Draft Addendum XXVII to the Summer Flounder, Scup and Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan in Alexandria, Virginia today, Pallone urged the Commission to ensure New Jersey fishermen are treated fairly.

Last week, Pallone sent a letter to Kirby Rootes-Murdy, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator for the ASMFC, regarding the Commission’s draft.  Today, a member of Congressman Pallone’s staff read his letter at the meeting where the Commission was set to vote on the proposal.

“My district has thousands of private anglers and attracts individual anglers from all over the nation. These anglers support local small businesses and drive the coastal economy of my home state,” Pallone wrote in the letter.  “It is critical for New Jersey to receive fair treatment in the development of restrictions placed on key recreational species.”

Regarding summer flounder, Pallone originally requested that the Commission enable New Jersey to become its own region and allow anglers to have a more equitable size limit within the Delaware Bay area.  With respect to sea bass, he expressed his support for a less restrictive quota than the proposed 23% reduction included in the draft addendum for recreational harvest.  He also once again called for more reliable data collection to ensure that recreational anglers in New Jersey and along the Atlantic Coast have fair quotas based on sound science.

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

 

January 21, 2016

Kirby Rootes-Murdy, FMP Coordinator

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

1050 North Highland St., Suite 200 A-N

Arlington, VA 22201

Dear Mr. Rootes-Murdy,

            I write today regarding the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Draft Addendum XXVII to the Summer Flounder, Scup and Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan. This addendum proposes actions relating to two important fisheries in New Jersey, summer flounder and sea bass. Summer flounder and sea bass are two of the most important recreational fish to resident and non-resident anglers. 

Recreational fishing directed at summer flounder and sea bass is a critical component of the state's economy. My district has thousands of private anglers and attracts individual anglers from all over the nation. These anglers support local small businesses and drive the coastal economy of my home state. It is critical for New Jersey to receive fair treatment in the development of restrictions placed on key recreational species.

            With respect to summer flounder, I request the Commission adopt Regional Option 2B: New Jersey Delaware Bay Proposed Region.  This option will enable New Jersey to become its own region and allow anglers to have a more equitable size limit within the Delaware Bay area. As the Commission considers the timeframe for summer flounder measures, I request the Commission adopt option 1, which would hold that this addendum expires at the end of 2016.

            Further, I support a less restrictive quota than the proposed 23% reduction that is included in the draft addendum for recreational sea bass harvest. There continues to be a troubling lack of confidence among fishermen and many fisheries managers in the data that guide stock assessments. As Congress considers reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the reliability of data collection remains one of our primary concerns. We must ensure that inaccurate and out of date science is not guiding decisions to needlessly restrict fisheries.

            Recreational anglers in New Jersey and along the Atlantic Coast deserve fair quotas based on sound science. According to NOAA Fisheries, commercial and recreational fishing supported approximately 1.7 million jobs in 2012. New Jersey relies greatly upon this critical industry. I appreciate your attention to this important matter.

                                                            Sincerely,

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