NJ Saltwater Registry

NJ Saltwater Fishing Registry
Fluke Wars
Written by Ron Nuzzolo   
Sunday, 18 July 2010 16:35

ron_nuzzolo.jpgRules and regulations divide anglers in neighboring states.

The Raritan bay is shared by NewYork and New Jersey anglers; however they do not share the same rules of fishery management. In fact regulations on fluke have New York anglers giving up on a summer flounder season. The New York side is fed up and throwing its arms up in frustration over the politics involved in a fishery management rule. New York anglers are steadily catching hundreds of fish only to release them back to New Jersey angler?s .New York is currently at a 21 inch 2 fish limit per day while New Jersey recreational possession limit and minimum size remain at 6 fish per day and 18 inches. This is a major problem not only for the management of the species but also for New York businesses owners that count on a bountiful summer flounder season.

New York and New Jersey anglers are fishing the same bay for the same species. The difference is New York will never bag a keeper limit if the fish needs to be 21 inches and New Jersey only 18 inches. New York doesn?t have a chance at a fillet of flounder dinner. Fluke or Summer flounder are currently managed under an interstate plan that uses out dated information leaving the NYS DEC to manage the rules as they stand. Unfortunately the stale data is unfair and critically damaging fluke stocks in the bay. The NY DEC is currently in federal court fighting for fairness in this fishery........

Who?s right? What should the limit really be? Where are they getting these statistics? Are there many fish over 21 inches to be caught even at two fish a day? Is it worth going on a charter for two fish that you may never catch at 21inches?

There is a lot of confusion amongst fishermen, tackle shops, and boat owners.  The regulations of NY and are vastly different regarding fluke raising concerns and more questions. You always need to be in compliance with the regulations wherever you are. If you are fishing in NJ, even on a NY registered boat, you need to comply with NJ rules. If you are returning to NY, you need to be in compliance with NY rules while in NY waters.  So, if you are fishing in NJ and catch fish that are legal in NJ but not in NY, you cannot come back into NY waters with those fish and be legal. According to NY State DEC if your fishing trip takes place in NJ, then you need to comply with NJ rules and no NY license is necessary. For example, if you docked your boat in NJ, even though it's registered in NY, and fished only in NJ, you could abide by NJ rules.

If you picked up your friend at a dock in NJ, fished only in NJ, then dropped him off back at the dock in NJ, he could take fish in accordance with NJ rules and would not need a NY license, even if fishing on a NY registered boat.  If on that same trip, however, you return to NY by boat, then you need to be in compliance with NY rules once you cross into NY waters. If you are confused then you are not alone. My advice is to always use your home port rules and common sense. If you?re still having questions or concerns friendly web sites like www.NJSaltwaterfisherman.com are very helpful and easy to navigate.

The Raritan Bay is alive and teaming with so many different species of fish. I can only hope that the Summer Flounder controversy will change the rules for the better in fishery management for generations to enjoy as I do with 4 generations still fishing the bay today. The one thing the two states do seem to share is the same information on weakfish management for 2010.Is it too late for the weakfish? Will the fluke follow?

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's The ASMFC's Weakfish Management Board implemented stock-wide management measures to reduce the recreational and commercial weakfish possession limit due to a determination that the Atlantic Coast weakfish stock is currently depleted and at the lowest population level since estimates have been recorded (1981-2008). The Board implemented stock-wide management measures to promote stock rebuilding, which result in a recreational possession limit of one (1) fish per angler per day. The former New Jersey recreational possession limit was six fish per angler per day.

Fish On!
Ron Nuzzolo

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