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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Get ready for tighter blackfish restrictions
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 02/28/06
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has announced that the blackfish remains in trouble and overfishing is occurring.
Thomas P. Fote, legislative chairman of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, returned from the recent ASMFC meeting to report that the commission's assessment has been peer-reviewed, and the picture is not bright.

"The report indicates the tautog resource continues to be at low biomass levels," Fote said. The blackfish has undergone a substantial decrease in biomass since the 1980s, and has remained at a low level of abundance since the 1990s, according to biologists.

The ASMFC plan does not define a specific biomass target, however; so it cannot be determined if the population is overfished, but, with the 2003 fishing mortality rate of 0.30 exceeding the plan target of 0.29, the stock assessment concluded that overfishing is occurring.

Fote said the commission's blackfish management board received both the stock assessment and peer review panel reports, but took no management action at the last meeting.

Lydia Munger, fisheries management plan coordinator, said both reports will be available March 1 on the commission's Web site, www.asmfc.org.

It will be interesting to see what the ASMFC's board comes up with as a perceived solution to the problem. It usually turns first to the recreational sector for a remedy.

The earlier attempts to cut the harvest resulted in the present four-fish possession limit from Jan. 1 through May 31, one fish from June 1 through Nov. 14, and eight fish from Nov. 15 through Dec. 31.

The revelation this month that the biomass has not improved since the regulations were put in place makes it certain that further controls lie ahead.

It might be noted that ethnic consumers of live blackfish have not been asked to cut back their consumption. If they have the cash, they can buy as many blackfish as they want at any time.

The angler, on the other hand, is limited to a single blackfish daily to divide with his family from June 1 through Nov. 14. He can buy more than one, but it is illegal to catch more than one with rod and reel.

As bad as the blackfish regulations are, the winter flounder rules are worse. There has been no legal recreational winter flounder fishery since May 31 of last year, but they can be bought in the market.

Winter flounders are selling for between $3.25 and $3.75 a pound wholesale, which means they will probably retail for around $4.99.

Winter flounder fillet ? a mix of regular, large and jumbo ? is selling for $6.95 to $7.35 a pound.

Anglers packed the Taylor Pavilion in Belmar about this time last year in a futile effort to convince the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that more restrictions on them would not restore the flounder stocks.

The ASMFC ignored the fishing public, and forged ahead with discriminatory rules that maintained and protected the commercial harvest while closing the recreational fishery from June 1, 2005 until March 23 of this year.

The winter flounder season opened March 1 last year, and there was substantial participation on the first day. Undoubtedly the same thing would have happened this year, if it was legal to fish.

In fact, the winter has been so mild that, if the season had been open 12 months a year, as it traditionally was, anglers would have caught flounders in January and February.
 

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No surprise.

They still have no clue how many are being caught. They made little to no effort to control the black market sale of these fish. The fines are a joke and there's no interest in stopping the illegal sale of these fish at the restraunts.

The sad result is recs and legal comm fisherman will be shut out of the fishery.
 

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Tog seem pretty thick out there from what I've seen! I'm sure you'll see the same with winter flounder this whole month we can't keep them! What a bunch of cr^p!!!! Where's the interest in addressing the real problem, the illegal blackfinsh trade?
 

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Or unfortunately you can go out of Delaware where you can keep 10 if you want, which is crazy.

Fish for them in the same exact bay, makes no sence.
 

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It would be nice to see some changes. I think the current structure sucks. I'd much rather see part of the 1 fish portion of the season be a total closure and open up a higher limit earlier in the fall. I'd gladly give up my 1 fish June through Sept if I could keep 4 - 6 starting in Oct instead of mid November, even if it meant lowering the fall limit to less than 8 (not many less, but 6 would be ok). That's my selfish opinion as someone who has to give up fishing by the end of November most seasons.
 

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CJ, the current regs have nothing to do with "science". They were designed specifically to eliminate the inshore fishery. That's why October is closed.
 

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Originally posted by CJ:
Silly me linking science or facts to regulations!!!
Didn't mean to imply you personally. In general, lots of people think there's actual good data to back this stuff up. The fact is, Virginia told the ASMFC to go scratch their arses because Virginia has their own data on tog which proved ASMFC's data was no good with respect to VA. So Virginia still enjoys their own tog season.

I suspect they'll be able to tell the ASMFC to go scratch again.
 

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Originally posted by jbones11:
Or unfortunately you can go out of Delaware where you can keep 10 if you want, which is crazy.

Fish for them in the same exact bay, makes no sence.
And thats why the new 34(whatever) will be running our winter(dec,jan,feb)charters out of Indian River, that was awesome blackfishing down there, just a underfished resource there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Barell, not sure about NJ but I am sure you would see blackfish on sale in Chinatown or at the Italian market in Philly.
 
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