View Full Version : CCA - Winter Flounder: Latest action leaves stock with little hope for recovery

05-05-2009, 10:10 PM
CONTACT: Ted Venker, 1-800-201-FISH

Managers fail winter flounder again

Latest action leaves stock with little hope for recovery

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) missed yet another opportunity to begin the process of recovering decimated winter flounder stocks at its meeting this week in Alexandria, Virginia. Faced with overwhelming evidence of a fishery reduced to mere remnants, managers ignored calls for a harvest moratorium and instead opted to reduce harvest of the Southern New England stock by about 60 percent.

“A 60 percent reduction sounds significant, but it means that we will still be right about at the overfishing threshold,” said Richen Brame, Atlantic States Fisheries Director for Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). “Trying to rebuild winter flounder with half-measures is like trying to save a person drowning 50 feet from shore with a 25-foot rope – your intentions may be good, but you are doomed to failure.”

The biomass of the Southern New England stock is currently just 9 percent of what is needed to produce maximum sustainable yield for the fishery. The stock collapse is reflected in landings figures. In 1984, for example, New York anglers harvested approximately five million winter flounder, but recent harvests have averaged closer to 50,000, roughly a 99 percent decrease.

The ASMFC held numerous meetings recently to receive comment on the options for winter flounder management. Comments gathered at public meetings, attended predominantly by commercial fishers, generally opposed any regulation, while written comments overwhelmingly supported a moratorium. Cumulatively, public support for a moratorium far outweighed any other option. ASMFC’s own Winter Flounder Advisory Panel, made up of both recreational and commercial fishers, unanimously called for such a moratorium, but was ignored by managers.

“Anything short of a total moratorium is a failure in the stewardship of this fishery,” said Charles A. Witek III, vice chairman of CCA’s National Government Relations Committee. “The latest decision from ASMFC continues a history of winter flounder management that is seemingly more concerned with protecting the fishing industry than the fish. This action is likely to produce consequences from which winter flounder may never recover.”


05-05-2009, 10:39 PM
Amazing.. Sad but amazing.
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