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2023 fishing season for sea bass, porgies and fluke – by john toth
background – i serve, along with about 23 other individuals, as an advisor to the new jersey marine fisheries council on what bag limit, size and seasons for the above fish that anglers can catch during the 2023 fishing season. after the atlantic states fisheries commission (asmfc) and the mid- atlantic council (mamfc) determines our fishing quotas for these fish by doing surveys, the nj marine fisheries council looks to us advisors for our input on how to set up our 2023 fishing season so that it is within the quota that is assigned to it by the asmfc and the mamfc. advisors are given a number of options from the njdep’s marine biologist. peter clarke, to choose from that we feel are the best choice for each fish that we think is the best for our anglers. the asmfc reduced our sea bass and porgy quota for 2023 by 10% so the options we choose from must have a 10% reduction or more.
with sea bass, we were given about 30 options to review for bag limit, size and seasons. (my eyes were seeing double after that). we did this review during two zoom sessions on january 19th and 26th.the following is a snapshot of the options we picked, but still has to be reviewed by asmc so that that are in compliance with the quota assigned to them.
sea bass – the stocks of these fish are rebuilt to about 210%, yet the asmfc is cutting our 2023 quota by 10% since it asserts that we overfished our 2022 quota! this fish is so mismanaged by the asmfc and this issue has been an ongoing with this federal agency that we have tried to resolve for quite some time. after reviewing the options for sea bass, the consensus of the advisors agreed to:
option 24c – 12.5 inches size limit:
10 fish 5/17 – 6/19
1 fish 7/1- 8/1
10 fish – 10/1 – 10/31
15 fish – 11/1 – 12/31
option 27 – 12.5 inches size limit
10 fish – 5/17 – 6/19
2 fish (either all of july or all of august)
10 fish 10/1 – 10/30
15 fish – 11/1 – 12/3110
porgies – (quota cut 10%)
option # 1 - 15 porgies can be caught from january 1 to december 31. this option was rejected
option # 2 - 30 fish from august 1 to december 31. this option was selected but the dates/months may be slightly adjusted to better match the porgy season.
fluke – we did not review any options for this fish. the asmfc and the mamfc instructed the nj marine fisheries council that it had to stay status quo for 2023 or changing it would possibly result it being out of compliance with its assigned quota. so, the fluke season for 2023 remains the same as 2022 as:
2 fluke – 17 inches to 17.99 inches
1 fluke at 18 inches or over
next steps – the options for sea bass and porgies still have to be submitted to the asmfc/mamfc for approval. the nj marine fisheries council will hold a public hearing on march 2nd at the stafford twp. administrative office building at 260 e. bay ave. in manahawkin at 5:00 p.m. to, take public comments and then vote on what options will be the seasons for sea bass and porgies and fluke.
my take on this – our fisheries are seriously mismanaged by the asmfc and the mamfc and they have been and still are responsible for putting the recreational fishing industry slowly out of business. we have seen so many party/charter boats and tackle shops close over the years because of this mismanagement that continues to be unabated with little to no regard of what it is doing to this industry. in reaction to this ongoing mismanagement, i am sure that many anglers who normally would follow rules will sadly ignore these regulations and become pirates.note: the information i have provided on these regulations have not been officially approved yet and still may be changed.