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DELAWARE TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS ON PROPOSED FLOUNDER REGULATIONS
Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21 to consider proposed amendments to the state’s tidal finfish regulations on summer flounder. The hearing will be held in the DNREC Auditorium at 89 Kings Highway in Dover.

Summer flounder are managed cooperatively by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC), and the National Marine Fisheries Service through the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan. ASMFC and MAFMC approved a coastwide recreational summer flounder harvest limit for 2013 resulting in an allowable catch of 78,512 fish to Delaware. Although this is a reduction from the 2012 allowable catch, the 2013 allowable catch is nearly double Delaware’s 2012 actual recreational harvest of 38,470 fish.

As a result, Delaware is considering liberalizing its management measures for the 2013 summer flounder fishery, pending approval by the ASMFC’s Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board. Four options were developed and approved by the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Technical Committee as the basis for the proposed regulatory changes. The options are:

Option 1
Minimum size - 18"
Possession limit - 4
Closed season - 10/24 to 12/31
Harvest increase estimate - 0 (status quo)

Option 2
Minimum size - 17.5"
Possession limit - 4
Closed season - none
Harvest increase estimate - +10.1%

Option 3
Minimum size - 17"
Possession limit - 4
Closed season - none
Harvest increase estimate - +40.1%

Option 1
Minimum size - 16.5"
Possession limit - 4
Closed season - none
Harvest increase estimate - +81.8%

All four options retain the possession limit of four fish, but as the minimum size of each option decreases, the risk of exceeding the allowable catch increases. Exceeding the allowable catch will result in a corresponding reduction in the following year’s allowable catch.

The hearing record on the proposed revisions to tidal finfish regulations on summer flounder will be open to receive public comments from Friday, March 1 through the close of business on Friday, April 5. To submit written comments or request additional information about the proposed addition, please contact DNREC Hearing Officer Lisa Vest by email at lisa.vest@state.de.us, or by sending mail to 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, or call 302-739-9042.


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