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For Release: Wednesday, May 10, 2017

DEC Announces Changes to 2017 Recreational Summer Flounder Fishing Regulations

State Led Efforts to Successfully Challenge National Marine Fisheries Data to Minimize Reductions to 30% and Ensure Viable Fishery for New York and Other East Coast States

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that new recreational fishing regulations are now effective for summer flounder (fluke). These regulations are required to meet the more restrictive rules put in place by the National Marine Fisheries Service, and include changes to the minimum size and possession limits. The State led efforts to successfully challenge National Marine Fisheries Service's data in order to minimize reductions and ensure a viable fishery for New York and other East Coast states. New York's 2017 regulations should result in an approximate 30 percent reduction in harvest to meet the federal requirements.

Coast-wide recreational harvest of summer flounder was originally expected to be cut by 41 percent, and under state-by-state recreational allocations, New York was facing a 70 percent reduction.

The open season for fluke has not changed. The new regulations include a three-fish possession limit, a 19-inch size limit, and an open season from May 17 through September 21.

This regulatory change reflects the coast wide decline in the number of summer flounder documented in the most recent surveys. Consistent below-average reproductive success for the last five years may be one cause for the decline. The catch limits set by the National Marine Fisheries Service for both the recreational and commercial fisheries in 2017 are the lowest in the history of the fishery management plan, which began in 1993.

New York State worked cooperatively with other members of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to reduce recreational summer flounder harvest along the coast in an equitable manner. As part of this effort, most states from Massachusetts through Virginia are expected to increase their size limit by one inch and lower their possession limits.

Information on the most up-to-date marine recreational fishing regulations for all species can be found on DEC's website.

Marine recreational anglers 16 years or older are reminded that they must register each year in New York's free Recreational Marine Fishing Registry on DEC's website.

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