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Rec fluke fishermen ask for split with commercial

Published in the Asbury Park Press 8/25/04
By John Geiser

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board announced at its recent meeting that it is studying a proposal to split the fluke quota 50-50 between the recreational and commercial sectors.
A petition was filed last year by the United Boatmen and the Recreational Fishing Alliance to change the split from 60 percent commercial, 40 percent recreational to an even distribution.

The recreational community has claimed for years that the 60-40 split was decided without regard for high recreational landings in the 1960s and 1970s, but, instead, was based on years when recreational landings were low.

More important, however, is the hardship that ever higher minimum sizes and shorter seasons has wreaked on anglers, party and charter boatmen and businesses dependent on the fluke fishery.

There was understanding in the recreational sector that a changing bluefish fishery required concessions to the commercial sector, and additional poundage has been allocated from the recreational quota to the commercial fishery for a number of years. It is time for a similar move in the fluke fishery to aid a beleaguered recreational sector.

The ASMFC board and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will continue to discuss the issue at the joint board and council meeting Oct. 3-5 in Ronkonkoma, N
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