Reject the MAMFC 2017 Fluke proposal and demand status Quo!
Support Status Quo for Fluke in 2017!
NOAA Fisheries is prepared to set an 11.30 million pound acceptable biological catch (ABC) for 2017 which represents a 29% reduction from the 2016 ABC. On top of that, NOAA Fisheries believes that recreational fishermen exceeded their recreational harvest limit in 2016 and that the recreational harvest limit in 2017 will need to be reduced by the amount of the overage. The result, the recreational sector is looking at close to a 40% reduction in 2017 which would represent the most restrictive measures in the history of the fishery's management.
Fisherman and coastal communities know that summer flounder is one of the most important fisheries in the mid-Atlantic. Rebuilding efforts increased the stock size to historic levels of abundance in 2007. What NOAA Fisheries has failed to do is update the stock assessment for summer flounder as the stock has expanded north and east. Independent reviews found that there are significant deficiencies of the summer flounder stock assessment and that improvements should be made to the modeling approach. It is expected that those changes could eliminate or lessen the need for quota reductions but NOAA Fisheries has no plans of updating the assessment before approving the 2017 ABC.
We ask to intervene on our behalf and the other 1MM fluke anglers and demand that NOAA Fisheries maintain the current flounder summer ABC at 16.26 million pounds until a benchmark assessment is conducted. Also, ask that NOAA Fisheries assumes that the recreational sector met but did not exceed its recreational harvest limit in 2016. By granting both requests, the result would be status quo in 2017. This is a fair compromise until a new benchmark assessment for summer flounder is conducted.
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