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NOAA Fisheries Announces Revised Summer Flounder and Black Sea Bass Catch Limits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 21, 2016

NOAA Fisheries is reducing the 2017-18 recreational and commercial catch limits for summer flounder by 30 percent for 2017 and by 16 percent for 2018. Because the July 2016 summer flounder assessment update showed that overfishing continued through 2015 and that the biomass continues to decline, we are implementing these measures to ensure the sustainability of summer flounder stocks for future generations of fishermen and consumers.

We are also reducing the 2017 commercial black sea bass quota by 31 percent. This is an automatic accountability measure required by the Fishery Management Plan when the fishery exceeds its annual catch limit. In 2015, the commercial annual catch limit was exceeded due to both a 4 percent overage of the commercial quota and higher-than-anticipated estimated discards of black sea bass.  summer SF BSB

It is possible that the next black sea bass assessment will provide justification for increasing the 2017 black sea bass catch limits for both the commercial and recreational fisheries. If that is the case, we will work with the Council to quickly implement revised catch limits mid-year. A final report for the assessment is expected in early 2017. 

Read the rule as filed in the Federal Register today, and the permit holder bulletin on our website.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel at 978-281-9175 or jennifer.goebel@noaa.gov