The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council has set new regulations for catching fluke and sea bass.
According to a release from Jersey Coast Angler’s Association’s Paul Haertel, rules set by the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council allow anglers to catch up to five fluke at 18-inches between May 21 and Sept. 25, except for the Delaware Bay and Island Beach State Park, where the limit is four fish at 17-inches and two fish at 16-inches, respectively.
For sea bass, anglers can catch 10 fish at 12.5-inches between May 23 and June 19, two fish at 12.5-inches between July 1 and Aug. 31, and 15 fish at 13-inches between Oct. 22 and Dec. 31. In 2015, catching sea bass was prohibited during August.
Striped bass regulations will remain the same as last year.
The regulatory intent is to conserve and improve fishery populations.
Haertel said that the Jersey Coast Angler’s Association provided testimony at regulatory hearings stating that New Jersey marinas, tackle shops, and fishing boats were negatively impacted by more stringent fishing regulations as compared to Delaware.
According to Haertel, anglers choose to use Delaware as a port of call due to a lessen restrictive size limit for fluke, requiring a 16-inch size limit compared to 18-inch in New Jersey.
“This was unfair in that anglers from both states were fishing essentially the same waters of Delaware Bay,” he said. “Though our complaints fell on deaf ears for 2015, an option for 17″ fluke was approved for 2016.”
Haertel said the solution is better for the New Jersey fishing industry.
“While not a perfect solution, hopefully it will be enough to bring some business back to the southern portion of our state,” he said.