A catch quota on summer flounder could be on the way for both the recreational and commercial fishing community , a fishery council says.
According to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, one of a handful of federally-created councils that sets local fishery policies, the reproduction of summer flounder, also known as fluke, has dropped so significantly that a 43 percent decrease in the quota may be necessary.
The decrease is also due to a spike in fish mortality after being tossed back into the water, a consequence of a larger “keeper” size limit.
The news comes after years of summer flounder population increase as a result of regulatory efforts.
At its July meeting, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is slated to issue its decision, which would drop the quota from about 22 million pounds this year to around 12 million pounds in 2016.
Under the proposed quota, commercial fishermen could catch the majority — or 6.3 million pounds — with the remainder for recreational fishermen. The remaining share accounts for fish mortality.
According to the memo, the quota would rise during the remaining two years on the plan, 2017 and 2018, up to 15.2 million pounds and 18.12 million pounds, respectively.