Washington, DC – On Wednesday, Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06) spoke at the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s (MAFMC) December Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland about his efforts to convince NOAA Fisheries to postpone any decision on reducing summer flounder quotes until it conducts a new benchmark summer flounder assessment. Pallone argued that proposed reductions would harm many coastal communities including those along the Jersey Shore who rely on the recreational and commercial fishing industries.
“Many fishermen are frustrated and lack confidence in the data that guides stock assessments,” said Pallone. “In the recreational sector, many believe that they have sacrificed for years to increase stocks, and have yet to see any benefits, despite the increase in biomass from the ‘90s. There continues to be legitimate concerns that the random sampling heavily relied upon by the NOAA and the estimates produced are inaccurate.”
This week Congressman Pallone and Senator Cory Booker sent a letter to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries about its proposal to reduce the Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) recreational and commercial quotas for summer flounder in 2017 and 2018. The New Jersey lawmakers requested that NOAA Fisheries postpone any decision on reducing summer flounder quotes until it conducts a new benchmark summer flounder assessment.
Pallone has long been a supporters of fisheries and the economies of coastal communities. Earlier this year, Congressman Pallone sent a letter to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission calling for fair and less restrictive policies relating to summer flounder. Last year, the Congressman decried NOAA’s final rule on 2016 summer flounder catch limits. Under the rule, the summer flounder acceptable catch limit was reduced 30 percent, from 23 million pounds to 16 million pounds.