This is more than just another fish story: DEP Commissioner Bob Martin has taken to the streets — make that the docks — to help protest proposed recreational harvest reductions for summer flounder that could go as deep as 50 percent.
“Such a draconian reduction in the recreational harvest limit would be tantamount to a moratorium on one of the most popular fish sought after by recreational anglers in New Jersey, making it nearly impossible for them to keep any of the flounder they catch,” Martin said during the rally at the Fishermen’s Supply Company in Point Pleasant Beach.
Summer flounder is one of the most popular game fish in the state among recreational anglers and is very important to commercial fishing operations.
Martin joined federal and state lawmakers, leaders of the state’s recreational and commercial fishing industries, anglers, and people whose livelihoods rely on fishing to argue that the changes could devastate the state’s fishing industry and have far-reaching economic impacts on shore tourism.
Last month the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) voted to allow anglers to catch and keep larger fish, reduced the total number that can be kept each day, and reduced the season length.
“This will cripple marinas, charter boat operators, and owners of bait-and-tackle shops, and would have severe consequences on the hotels, restaurants, and other tourism-related businesses that support anglers and their families,” Martin said.