Fluke, porgy, sea bass regs loosened in New York

East Setauket, N.Y. — DEC has loosened its summer flounder (fluke), scup (porgy) and black sea bass regulations in light of data that shows those fish stocks are healthier than originally believed.

The new regulations in general reduce the minimum size limit for fluke and porgy and also boost the daily creel limit for all three species.

The open season for porgy and black sea bass was also expanded.

DEC assistant commissioner for natural resources Kathleen Moser said the regulations changes “reflect improvements to populations of scup, black sea bass and summer flounder. The scup population is particularly robust at this time.”

For fluke, the new regulations will offer anglers a four-fish limit as opposed to the previous three. The minimum size was trimmed from 20.5 inches to 19.5 inches, with the season running from May 1 through Sept. 30.

The size restriction has frustrated saltwater anglers, particularly the inshore crowd which struggled to find legal-sized fluke. DEC last year cut the minimum size limit from 21 inches to 20.5, but it remained a hot topic among anglers looking to bring home a fish or two for a meal.

“Trying to find a legal fish is certainly frustrating,” said Peter Haskell of Haskell’s Bait & Tackle in East Quogue (Suffolk County) last year. “A lot of fish are just under the limit.”

For porgy, the season has been extended from the previous May 24-Sept. 26 to a May 24 kickoff to a season that will run through Dec. 31. The daily limit will go from 10 to 20 fish, with a 10.5-inch minimum size.

Anglers aboard licensed party and charter boats will also see loosened regulations in the form of extended seasons: May 1-Aug. 31 (as opposed to the previous June 8-Sept. 6) with a 20-fish limit (up from 10), then Sept. 1-Oct. 31 (up from Sept. 7-Oct. 11) for the season that carries a 40-fish daily limit.

There will also be a Nov. 1-Dec. 31 season in which 20 fish are allowed to be kept daily by party/charter anglers.

The size minimum for party and charter anglers will be 11 inches.

The new regulations for black sea bass will expand the season to run from June 15 through the end of the year. Previously, the season opened June 13 and ran through Oct. 1, then reopened from

Nov. 1-Dec. 31. While the minimum size will remain at 13 inches, the daily creel limit was bumped up from 10 fish to 15.

The loosened restrictions are actually a product of New York’s participation in a cooperative management effort for migratory marine fisheries as a member of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).

ASMFC adopts “Interstate Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs)” for the management and conservation of quota-managed species along the Atlantic Coast. DEC officials said fluke, porgy and black sea bass stocks “are rebuilt and should provide excellent recreational fishing opportunities now and into the future.”

The new rules took effect immediately and were to be in place for 90 days. DEC filed the regulations changes as rule-change proposals to extend the regulations beyond 90 days. The text of the new regulation was published in the State Register and is available on the DEC website, located at: www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/34113.html#part40e2. DEC will accept public comment on the proposals through June 18.

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