I received the following important message from the Recreational Fishing Allicance that ALL New Jersey Recreational Fishermen need to read and then participate in.  


This is IMPORTANT and needs your Participation!



Recreational Fishing Alliance   

Contact:  Jim Donofrio / 888-564-6732 

For Immediate Release

September 1, 2017     


Recreational Fishing Industry To Voice Displeasure With Regulatory Dead Zone

Recreational Fishermen Are Encouraged To Show Up In Numbers At NJ Marine Fisheries Council Meeting On September 7th

September 1, 2017 - New Gretna, NJ.  The 2017 summer flounder season marks the earliest closure of the fishery in the history of the stock's management.  For good reason, the fishery traditionally stayed open through the Columbus Day weekend in October.  Those weekends between Labor Day and Columbus Day marked some of the best fluke fishing of the season while giving party boats and tackle shops much needed sales following the departure of the summer crowds.    On top of the early fluke closure, black sea bass in federal waters is open from May 15 through September 21 and then again from October 22 through December 31 with a 12.5" minimum size limit and a 15-fish bag. Black sea bass in state waters is open from May 26 through June 18 then July 1 through August 31 then October 22 through December 31.  The 2017 measures leave a period between September 6 through October 21 that can only be described as regulatory "dead zone".

The Marine Fisheries Council will meet at 4pm on September 7th at the Stafford Township Municipal Building located at 240 East Bay Avenue in Manahawkin, NJ 08050.   The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) is encouraging all recreational anglers, charter and party boat operators and owners, tackle shop owners and any one whose business is threatened by bad fisheries policy to attend this meeting and ask council members to introduce and pass a motion to open black sea bass in New Jersey state waters from September 6 through October 21 with a 12.5" minimum size limit and a 15 bag limit. The condition of the black sea bass stock, the minimal amount of poundage expected to be harvested under this 6 week opening, and the lack of options available to recreational anglers certainly justify this action. 

Based on last year's landings of 1,000 per day under a 12.5" minimum size limit and a 15-fish bag limit, it is expected that this open season could result in approximately 45,000 lbs of black sea bass landed. The most recent assessment of the black sea bass resource found it to be 235% of its rebuilding target biomass.  Overfishing is not occurring.  45,000 lbs represents 0.8% of the 2017 recreational annual catch limit for 2017 set at 5.38 million pounds. Furthermore, it was disclosed at the August Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) meeting that the 2015 and 2016 black sea bass (BSB) recreational harvest limit could have been increased by double if they were set using the information from the December 2016 benchmark stock assessment.  If these results were applied to the 2015 and 2016 RHL, the recreational sector would have been afforded an additional 1.96 million pounds and 1.47 million pounds, respective, in those years thereby producing a 3.43 million pound unused surplus.    This 'found' poundage could then be used to open a New Jersey state waters black sea bass season between September 6 and October 22. 

If passed by the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council and adopted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the opening would be inconsistent with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) measures and therefore, the ASMFC would likely take action to find New Jersey out of compliance similar to the action taken by the interstate regulatory body with regards to summer flounder.  However, New Jersey anglers and the businesses supported by them will be deprived of nearly 7 weeks of some of the best fishing during the fall season if the current measures stand. 

RFA is encouraging anglers to attend the Marine Fisheries Council meeting next Thursday and show support for the Council to take action and open a limited fall fishery for black sea bass in state waters between September 6 and October 21.   


About Recreational Fishing Alliance

The Recreational Fishing Alliance is a national, grassroots political action organization representing recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry on marine fisheries issues. The RFA Mission is to safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our Nation's saltwater fisheries. For more information, call 888-JOIN-RFA or visit

Recreational Fishermen need to STAND UP and make themselves heard!  We have been pushed around long enough by politically controlled Fisheries Managers and the commercial fishing interests.  They have not managed the fish stocks well and they continually blame the recreationals for that.  What a laugh.  National Marine Fiosheries admits their data is nowhere close to being accurate yet they rely their taking more fish from recreationals based on that incorrect data.  This is not a new phenomenon either.  They have been using bad data for over 20 years.  

How many captains out there can state that their anglers on board totally limited out with keepers over the past 5 years.  I know that my anglers sure did not and, in fact, over 40% of our Fluke trips had NO KEEPERS, especially the trips that had to be fished in the Inlet due to adverse weather and sea conditions.

The National Marine Fisheries Services tried to get the Fluke keeper limit set at 19" this year and New Jersey's DEP FINALLY stood on its hind legs and complained by suit.  DEP said that the 18" limit was fine.  The court agreed with NJ DEP mainly due to the fact that National Marine Fisheries agreed that their own data collection was nowhere near accurate.  The new Director of National Marine Fisheries, Chris Oliver, formerly in charge of Fisheries Management in the Alaska Region, a huge fisheries area, states he will no longer use inaccurate data for any controls within National Marine Fisheries.  But with any new Administration, it takes a while for the new appointees to get control over their operations so we certainly do NOT want this new grab to take place before the new guy gets control.

Please come and make your voice heard on September 7 at Stafford Township Municipal Building at 240 East Bay Avenue in Manahawkin, NJ 08050 at 4 p.m.

I hope to see you there.  Please speak up and make your opinion heard.  Write to your Congressman about this matter as well.




The results of this Meeting were expected.  The panel running the meeting was the New Jersey State Marine Fisheries Committee and they let their hair down and gave the attendees some excellent advice.

They pointed out that when the Fisheries Councils have their Meetings, few members of the public attend

and make their positions known.  

Personally, I always though that most of the Council Meetings had already decided on the issues before the Meeting was even held.

The Councils will be meeting the next time in Annapolis, MD over 4 days in December.  A Meeting of that length is certainly not easy for most people to take time off from work, cover the travel costs including hotel stays, meals, etc.  There was some discussion about setting up busses to take people to the important days of that meeting.

I, for one, plan to set my work schedule so that I can attend.

Why don't you try to as well.

I will post the contact info for the busses as soon as I can get that together.




Capt. Lindsay Fuller

June Bug Sportfishing

Beach Haven, NJ  08008