DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL
Division of Fish and Wildlife
Notice Of Public Comment
Tidal Finfish Regulations
The Summer Flounder Fishery Management Plan (FMP) details the annual process that the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Summer Flounder Fishery Management Board, the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service are to use for establishing conservation equivalency for the recreational summer flounder fishery. These agencies agreed that the states would implement conservationally equivalent measures rather than a coastwide management program for summer flounder in 2007. Delaware is obligated to cap the summer flounder recreational harvest at 76,608 fish for 2007. The harvest cap has been adjusted downward 34 percent from the previous year's level of 116,000 fish because of slower than projected rebuilding in the stock. Although Delaware and all the coastal states in the management regime must adjust their harvest cap downward, estimates of Delaware's 2006 harvest indicated that landings of summer flounder were below the harvest cap imposed for 2006. As such, it is anticipated that management measurers for summer flounder in 2007 will need to achieve a 29.3 percent harvest reduction from the estimated harvest in 2006. Savings associated with landings below the 2006 harvest cap justified the lowered reduction target for Delaware in 2007. Conversely, if Delaware had exceeded the harvest cap in 2006 then the reduction target for 2007 would have been higher than the overall target 34 percent reduction. It is proposed that a suite of management options will be developed that take into consideration measurers that have been successfully employed in the past to achieve reductions in harvest while attempting to meet the needs of the fishing public. These options will include potential minimum size limits ranging between 17 and 18 inches in combination with various creel limits that can range from 1 to 4 fish per day and also incorporate seasonal closures. Ten management options for Delaware will be reviewed by the ASMFC Summer Flounder Technical Committee to determine if the correct data sets and analyses were used to project landings under the various options. Once the technical review is completed, those options that were approved will be presented at a public hearing in order to receive input from the fishing community on the various options.
Individuals may present their comments or request additional information by contacting the Fisheries Section, Division of Fish and Wildlife, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, (302) 739-9914. A public hearing on these proposed amendments will be held on March 29, 2007 at 7:30 P.M. in the DNREC Auditorium, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901. The record will remain open for written comments until 4:30 PM, April 2, 2007.