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Commercials are taking all the flounder ? period!

28129 Views 84 Replies 44 Participants Last post by  strip
I have read a lot recently on the condition and fate of winter flounder in our waters, and I agree with most of it. But no one will ever convince me that this is a recreational problem or that we should be the ones to take the brunt of severe measures to bring them back. Especially when you consider that we are currently fishing at about 26.5% of what we were back in 1990, while the commercial are about 50% over what they were the same year.

In 1990 recreational anglers in NY State took, 1,106,590 ? pounds of winter flounder while at the same time the commercial fishery took just 640,445 ? pounds, basically giving us about 65% of the catch. It is actually higher than that if you average from 1980-1990, but I didn?t want to go back too far and make this seem like ancient history.

Then just 10-years later in the year 2000 things made quite a turnaround! Commercials took 960,122 ? pounds while recreational anglers took a mere 293,472 pounds! That?s right we?re fishing at 26.5% of what we were in 1990 and the commercials are fishing at 150% of what they had in 1990. And people want to know where all the flounder are going? It?s not the cormorants or the seals or the bass, it?s the inshore and offshore draggers. They?ve gotten so good at what they do that they are now catching the flounder we use to catch before they even get in the bay. And those that they miss, they get them when the flounder head out to sea in the fall.

The numbers don?t lye and they speak for themselves, the problem with this fishery is the commercials and unless we do something to address it they will be the only ones catching them. I?d be the first one to say close it down for everybody, but the fact is we aren?t putting a nick in this fishery.

The series of events that led to this commercialization of the winter flounder have been played out over and over again. We need a commercial moratorium, just like we did when we needed to bring back the bass, but the truth is we will never see one. Do you know why? It?s simple, because the commercials are catching more today than they were before, so to them there really isn?t a problem.

Think about it, ? in those ten years we took recreational anglers from no-bag limit and no season ? I can still remember fishing on some January and February days for flounder ? to what is now essentially a 4- month season with minimum sizes and bag limits. While at the same time doing nothing to curtail the commercial catch.

So please folk?s don?t let anyone fool you, if you took every single recreational angler out of this fishery it would do nothing more than allow for more fish to be caught in the commercial fishery. Just as it has over the past decade.

Hook and Line Only!
George R. Scocca
Publisher
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Who should we write to?

Last fall, my brother and I were taking a run to democrats on the outside when we came across a sickening site- several hundred dead stripers behind a big dragger who was no more than 1 mile offshore. Another angler who was headed for Massachussets stopped with us and took pictures. I never did catch up with him, but will not soon forget the dead 40 pounder's I pulled out of the water because I had never actually seen one. Never wanted to see them in that condition. When I say there were hundreds, there may have been a thousand- who can say.

All I know is that they are raping the waters of fish and the bycatch that they discard could have made us all happy for the entire season.... yet it was only one days kill for them.

If anyone knows who and what to write, let's do it. I also believe that we have to be part of the solution- we can't just blame everyone else. So if you're going to step up and call to action, be sure to have extra consideration for the fish as well like using circle hooks, keeping only what you can eat and throwing back borderline keepers. Who would keep an 11" fluke? Not me, so why would you keep an 11" flounder(or whatever the minimum regulation is)? An argument of "why should I throw them back? so that the draggers can catch them" is like saying joey did it so why can't I. Because you are a better person and are actually doing something other than blowing smoke. If not, keep the stinking fish and let this message echo in the back of your head all day- The flounder stocks are disappearing and you're part of the reason....

I hope to one day catch a 40 pound bass or a 22" flounder, but at the rate the draggers are going, it may be some time...
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Hey No Clue, you are right on!

If we all put 5% of what we spend as recreational fishermen towards funding a group that would lobby to protect the fisheries, we raise awareness and influence those in power. If we don't do something soon, what will we be fishing for? The next thing you know, sea robins will be table fare....

Someone needs to take the bull by the horns, call on all of us for donations, then take that money and use it to raise awareness, lobby or whatever is necessary without injuring anyone trying to make a decent living abiding by the rules- that includes draggers.

You are also correct about raffles and charity auctions. I have witnessed it firsthand also. Many, (note I said many, not all) of the same guys posting here about how we should do something don't buy raffles at the shows to fight overfishing or raise awareness. ****, I have seen guys won't part with five bucks to help the homeless or kids with cancer at tournament auctions by buying a raffle or t-shirt, meanwhile they are puffing on $15 cigars after just putting $500 in gas in the boat. What I did notice is that the commercial charter captains were quick to bid on the high dollar stuff and probably outspent the rest of us by two-to-one. Most people stood around thinking that $40 was too much to bid for a $200 rod/reel combo and to boot it's TAX DEDUCTIBLE...... What did I do? Spent $300 bucks on stuff I'll never use to help the cause, bought 4 t-shirts and a whole bunch of raffles. The commercial captains also donated trips on their charter boats to help raise money- what did we do?? uhhh yupp- nothing. Yes, I know they benefit by getting a new fare on the boat who will hopefully come back, but they helped the charity. That's what it's all about- banding together with a common goal.

The draggers also stick together like glue- that's something we do not and it needs to change. We outnumber them 100-fold, but that doesn't matter when no one can organize us and they will back each other to the death- like brothers. There is certainly a middle-ground- Any suggestions?

p.s. George, I've got the second $100 check!
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