01/06/2008 - Shoppers will find lots of fresh New Jersey fluke in their local fish cases this week. But it won't last for long.
Fishermen who put their nets out just after midnight early this morning will get just one day's haul of 7,500 pounds out of the January commercial season for summer flounder, or fluke as it's also called, before it closes Monday. Relatively speaking, they're OK with that as a way to both conserve the resource and help fishermen survive the economic fallout.
The annual fishing limit is set using a complex biological analysis that accounts for the species' reproductive success, and for numbers of flounder taken by fishermen. Weeks of uncertainty ended New Year's Eve when the National Marine Fisheries Service published a final rule setting the 15.77 million-pound limit for commercial and recreational fluke catches. Under pressure
The agency had been under pressure from environmental activists to set a lower quota limit, 11.64 million pounds, which scientific advisers had recommended as a way to speed progress toward a goal of nearly doubling the flatfish population by 2013.
"We're disappointed. For precautionary reasons, they should have adopted the recommendations" of advisers, said Lee Crockett, who heads federal fisheries reform efforts with the environmental arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts.
"They're hanging their hat on more optimistic scenarios that haven't panned out in the past," Crockett added. "So we'll see what happens."
Read the full article Fluke Season Lasts One Day in New Jersey on Courier Post Web site.