New Jersey Congressmen Are Not Putting Fish First

Capt. Dave Monti with a summer flounder (fluke) caught off Rose Island, Newport in August. Fluke catch limits will likely be cut 30% next year as the spawning stock biomass (SSB) has been down for six years.

Capt. Dave Monti with a summer flounder (fluke) caught off Rose Island, Newport in August, 2016.

I run a charter fishing business in Rhode Island. I have always felt it a privilege to fish and take people fishing to experience the joy of catching fish for consumption and sport.

Therefore I was alarmed to learn that New Jersey Congressmen LoBiondo and Pallone recently announced through a press release their intention to introduce legislation that would prevent NOAA Fisheries (aka National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS) from implementing regulations that would reduce summer flounder harvest limits. Recreational harvest limit reductions of summer flounder are needed to rebuild this fish stock whose spawning biomass has been on the decline for six years in a row. In addition, overfishing relative to biological reference points is occurring on this stock.

The fish we catch do not belong to us, nor do they belong to the fishermen or congressmen in New Jersey. The fish we catch belong to the people of the United States of America; those living in Kansas, and Minnesota own the fish just as much as those living in New Jersey and Rhode Island. The fish should be managed for the benefit of all Americans and not just for local interests.

The Magnuson-Stevens Act has given NOAA Fisheries the authority to manage the fish to grow them to abundance for all. Under this federal fishing law, 40 fish stocks have been rebuilt. The Magnuson-Stevens Act puts fish first, not local or state interests.

Local political leaders have the interests of their constituents at heart; this is the case with the legislation being considered by New Jersey congressmen. However, the legislation being considered is not in the best interest of the fish which need help to rebuild. Nor is the legislation in the best interest of the people of the United States of America who all share in this public natural resource.

To weaken federal fishing laws with legislation that is motivated by the self-interest of a state (or states) and not in the best interest of the country or its public resources is wrong. I am opposed to the spirit of the legislation being considered by New Jersey congressmen.

About Dave Monti

Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a vice president of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association, an active member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association and a member of the RI Marine Fisheries Council.

12 comments on “New Jersey Congressmen Are Not Putting Fish First

  1. Dave as a charter captain you of all people should be for this proposal.
    For over 30 years, NOAA and nmfs has entirely mismanaged this fishery, and other.
    The facts are irrefutable:.
    Mrffs and MRIP are doing an inadequate job of measuring fisherman demand.
    The SSB being used is outdated and the train survey isn’t using the right gear type to harvest flounder.
    NJ doesn’t think we own any fishery. However we know when regulators are either blatantly lying to us or seriously Incompetent

    • I understand it is difficult to fish under more restrictive regulations, but that is how the MSA has rebuilt fish stocks, we use the best available data when it is good news or bad. Saying the data is bad does not help the fishery. My point it that it should be fish first.

      • Dave
        You are missing my point. I understand MSA is driving the drastic results.
        My point is the science behind the results is completely bogus.
        The data the state of NJ has shows the SSB is actually growing.
        Recent studies show 95% of fluke over 18″ are female. Increasing the harvest of mature fluke will exacerbate the problem.
        NJ is putting the fish first in asking NOAA and nmfs to incorporate the Cornell study.
        NOAA, NMFS and you are ignoring more current data.
        After 30 years of mismanaging this fishery, NJ is standing up on behalf of the fluke. Too bad NOAA and NMFS are too arrogant to even consider they maybe wrong.

        • The fish off the coast of New Jersey do not belong to New Jersey, the state does not own them, they belong to the people of the United States of America, NOAA and NMFS puts fish first, not the interest of any individual state. That is how and why over 40 fish stocks have been rebuilt under MSA. This is proof that the system works. Any state can initiate their own research and claim economic hardship if they do not like regulations. That is why we have a federal law, that aims to put fish first, however, it is not a perfect system, it often takes science time to catch up because funds are limited, but in the end it works… 40 fish stocks rebuilt is proof of that.

      • This from a person who owns a party boat in Rhode Island where in 2016 they got to keep 8 fish per person at 18 inches, who you kidding Dave

  2. So you are not for state rights ,it ok its your opinion,,,but we the people voted for trump,we do not believe he is even a good choice but we voted for him because he was the only one that would put a stop to the socialists agenda,,,,our government has only managed stipers properly,all other species have been mismanaged,by them allowing the commercial quotas so much

  3. Who is padding your pocket??? You obviously believe everything you read as well! Your opinion of fish stocks is based off of flawed science.

  4. The person that wrote this is a total jackass. He lives in Rhode Island. Of course he has no problem with the regulation. The fish he’s catching have already grown above the legal limit. By forcing the Jersey to pass on smaller fish, it means more fish for him.

  5. Data is very CLEAR ,,,Male fluke are 99% gone by the time they get to 18″,targeting anything over 18″ is removing females from population. Fluke migrate slightly north following each Spawn which if you look at this with an open mind a 15″ fluke caught and released in NJ will likely end up in NY or further north the following year.
    The good Capt doesn’t have to worry he gets 8 fish which on average will be 1-3″
    larger than the average NJ fluke

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