Congressman Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., and several House colleagues from New Jersey are calling on the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to reconsider proposed 2016 harvest reductions for summer flounder.
At its meeting this week in New York City, the council is slated to take action on a recommendation from its Science and Statistical Committee (SSC) for a 29 percent reduction in commercial quotas and recreational harvest limits for summer flounder in 2016 compared to 2015.
The SSC made its recommendation in July after a stock assessment update purported to show that stock recruitment numbers for prior years may have been overestimated, and as a result, the size of the stock may have been overestimated as well.
In a letter sent to the council last week, and his colleagues dispute the model used by the SSC and question its conclusions. The congressmen make the case that the SSC’s recommendation is excessively precautionary, and will cause unnecessary economic damage to fishermen and fishing communities.
They also point out that the stock is fully rebuilt. To address the situation, they urge the council to remand the issue back to the SSC so that these matters can be more appropriately considered.
Joining Jones in signing the letter were U.S. Reps. Tom MacArthur, Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2), Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4), and Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3).
A copy of the letter can be viewed here.