A memo released by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council staff on revised the earlier recommended flounder/fluke cuts downward from 43 percent to 25 percent for 2016.
In making the revision, the Council staff recognized the substantial negative impact such a reduction would have on the recreational and commercial fisheries, the seafood industry and markets and fishing communities they support.
In the memo, the staff said that the fisheries for summer flounder would not be able to effectively absorb such a large reduction in the acceptable biological catch (ABC) in one year. Such a cut would have a devastating effect on local charter and party boats, bait and tackle shops and recreational
Instead of the one-year plan called for in its initial memo, the Council staff is recommending a “phased in” approach for achieving the reduction that will take place over three years. The staff’s earlier memo, which was issued on July 9, sparked widespread concern in an industry that is already struggling.
The recommendations were made in advance of the Council’s Science and Statical Committee (SSC) meeting taking place in Baltimore.
Angler Advocacy for Habitat Restoration
Well respected regional fishing Guide and fellow Tidal Fisher Capt. Chris Newsome recently hosted representatives from NOAA Chesapeake Bay and The Nature Conservancy. He invited them to spend the morning on the Piankatank River where they visited different oyster restoration projects.
They talked about how to incorporate a holistic habitat approach to oyster restoration that will provide valuable habitat necessary to support biotic communities that once relied on historic vertical 3D oyster reefs.
With 99% of the natural oyster reef habitat destroyed, it is very important that oyster restoration projects include the complex three-dimensionality of bottom structure necessary to support diversity of life.
As stakeholders in the resource, anglers need to be involved in the restoration process. The US Army Corps of Engineers predicts a $2 Billion investment in oyster restoration on the Chesapeake. If anglers do not make their voices heard, restoration design will ignore the habitat value necessary to support valuable gamefish like striped bass. It is important to remember striper are called rockfish locally because historically they were found on oyster "rock" reefs. Let's make sure rockfish see the return of their namesake home!
Here is a great fact sheet CBF has on oyster reefs - www.cbf.org/document.doc?id=2298
One way anglers can be involved is to submit this sign on letter to the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council by July 21st. http://www.cbf.org/join-us/take-acti...sign-on-letter
In the picture for the article is fellow Tidal Fisher Kevin Smiths catch from a recent good day of fishing out of Virginia Beach. Catch his full flounder fishing report here.
Until Next week, good fishing!