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Division White Paper: Southern Flounder Slot Limit

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    Posted: 02 August 2021 at 12:40pm
https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/m...der-amendment3

If you flounder fish and wish to make public comment when the time comes, you should read it and understand Slot Limits

Appendix-4.6-Slot-limits-Draft-Amendment-3-20210729-workshop.pdf

The first order of "fairness"- At this time, the focus of this issue paper will be the potential implementation of a slot limit for the recreational hook-and-line fishery only as requested by the NCMFC.

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  • The implementation of a slot limit will not extend the season or increase the TAL (Table 4.6.1).
  • To account for the additional dead discards the TAL would need to be reduced, resulting in fewer harvest opportunities so not to exceed the TAC.
  • It is not realistic for the recreational gig fishery to operate under a slot limit as gigs have an assumed 100% mortality associated with capture.
  • Any slot limit will potentially increase the discarded fish which is problematic for species such as southern flounder which have high post-release mortality (9%) and discard to catch ratios (nine released for every fish kept; Moreau and Matthias 2018).
  • Slot limits generally result in lower harvest and more discards by weight, and therefore higher and more frequent overages would occur compared to a minimum size limit (Wiedenmann et al. 2013).
  • As older, larger fish become more abundant, the volume of removals due to discard mortality and non-compliant harvest is expected to increase (Kasper et al. 2020).
  • The discards of larger, heavier fish will increase the poundage of dead discards.
  • This increase could be especially problematic for the recreational fishery due to the volume of releases each year.

This is important for everyone to understand-

As the stock rebuilds the potential recreational seasons identified in the Sustainable Harvest issue paper may fail to meet the target harvest reduction due to increased angler success (Figures 4.6.4-4.6.7). In 2020, angler success increased relative to the last five years, particularly for anglers catching only one fish. Catch rates, indicative of success, almost doubled between 2019 and 2020. Therefore, decreasing the bag limit, even if a slot limit is implemented, is necessary to constrain harvest and prevent massive overages.

The Sustainable Harvest Issue Paper is here- https://files.nc.gov/ncdeq/Marine-Fi...s-Workshop.pdf

...and the first thing that needs to happen is here, ban large mesh gillnets- Appendix-4.7-Draft-Amendment-3-20210721-Workshop.pdf

Edited by Rick - 02 August 2021 at 12:41pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2021 at 1:02pm
The Sustainable Harvest Issue Paper is here- https://files.nc.gov/ncdeq/Marine-Fi...s-Workshop.pdf

Recreational Accountability Measures
Accountability measures will also be necessary for the recreational hook-and-line and gig fisheries.
 
The final recreational total catch will be determined by adding the total landings from the MRIP and gig surveys to the estimates of dead discards. To account for overages from landings and dead discards, the following year’s recreational quota and season will be adjusted based on the results of the MRIP and gig mail surveys from the previous year. If the TAL for the recreational sector combined is not exceeded, then accountability measures will not be applied. If the TAL are exceeded, any overages to the TAL will be applied to the subsequent season (which includes both hook and line and gig gears). Using the conservative approach described in the commercial accountability measures, any remaining allocation will not be rolled over to subsequent years. These data are typically available by mid-April for the previous calendar year, can be calculated quickly, and are expected to be finalized prior the usual recreational season, assuming the season does not open prior to June 1. For the recreational fishery, final total of pounds harvested from a year’s harvest, discard estimates, and estimates of number of trips will be determined through verification of the final MRIP and gig mail survey.

A set annual quota is also the most appropriate tool for the recreational fisheries to maintain sustainable harvest, but it is more challenging to track every trip because harvest data are only available in two-month intervals with delays in verification. Instead, a season for the recreational fisheries that will maintain the allocation within its bounds may be the most reasonable approach. Due to a high level of discards in the recreational hook and line fishery, there is concern that the volume of discards can have a large direct impact on subsequent seasons if anglers continue to target and release southern flounder during closed seasons. Recreational hook-and-line discards are not monitored through a quota and are not available until after the season is complete. It is important to restate that it is not the individual gear allocations that are driving management, rather it is the overall quota. Additional measures can be implemented in concert to further refine harvest management to limit impacts due to overages while the fishery is recovering. This approach does limit angler access during periods of no harvest, but it does not stop the unintended consequences of large volumes of discards through indirect hooking while targeting other species or intentional catch and release discards. Unintended discards are a major source of removals in the southern flounder recreational fishery (Flowers et al. 2019; NCDMF 2019).

Recreational Fisheries Bag Limits
Potential changes to bag limits for all recreational gear were evaluated. Reductions in recreational bag limits may increase the likelihood of meeting required reductions as the stock rebuilds. The daily bag limit for flounder currently is set at four fish; the average angler success rate for a single trip is one harvestable southern flounder (Figures 4.1.10 and 4.1.11).
 During 2017, recreational anglers released nine southern flounder for every one southern flounder that was harvested (Figure 19 in Description of the Fishery section). Angler success rates are tied to stock size (fish availability) and minimum size limits. As stock abundance increases during the rebuilding period, it is likely angler success will increase as well. If angler success improves, any gains achieved through limited open seasons will be lessened, limiting the actual recovery of the species. Harvest should be constrained using multiple measures in the recreational fisheries while rebuilding occurs.

Reducing the southern flounder bag limit would minimize the impacts of increased angler success on the rebuilding stock. Current data show that recreational anglers harvest 93% of the southern flounder total landings during trips where only one fish is harvested in a daily trip, although there is a four-fish daily bag limit in addition to the minimum size limit (Table 4.1.14). A reduction from four fish to three fish or from four fish to two fish daily bag limit does not curtail actual harvest (Table 4.1.14). Dropping the recreational bag limit for southern flounder to zero fish still results in dead discards of over 50,000 pounds for all identified potential season dates by anglers who are not targeting southern flounder and happen to catch and release some (Table 4.1.3). If angler success increases during the rebuilding time period, the volume of removals could increase relative to the original reduction calculations (Figure 4.1.11). If angler success doubles, which would be a two-fish daily harvest limit, paybacks from overharvest have the potential to severely curtail continued recreational angling opportunities as the stock recovers (Figure 4.1.12). For example, angler success increased from 0.9 fish per trip in 2019 to 1.3 fish per trip in 2020. Limiting the potential future harvest during times of increased abundance will allow the stock to rebuild, making further bag limits necessary to constrain recreational harvest to meet the required reductions.

5A. Reduce recreational bag limit of flounder to one fish per person per day.
+ Provides the greatest chance of rebuilding and maintaining growth in the stock
+ May allow for quickest rebuilding of spawning stock biomass

+ May limit harvest during times of increased abundance from rebuilding - May slow rebuilding if fish are continued to be harvested



The division recommendations....

Recreational Fisheries:
• Implement seasons for the recreational gig and hook-and-line fisheries to constrain them to an annual quota.
Reduce the recreational bag limit of flounder to one fish per person per day.
• Do not implement a slot limit.
• Do not allow harvest of southern flounder using RCGL.



We get one fish and they move our season to earlier in the year when flounder are spread out and not migrating towards the inlets.


Lets close the whole thing for three years!

With annual payback, as the fishery recovers, there is good chance the recreational season will be closed every other year anyway...or more.


Edited by Rick - 02 August 2021 at 1:32pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2021 at 1:52pm
The tables below give you an idea of a season that fits the allocation-

...but, they are based on 2008-2017 landings. As the fishery recovers and catch increases (landings + discards), seasons get shorter and annual payback will close the fishery.








Edited by Rick - 02 August 2021 at 1:57pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TomM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2021 at 7:13pm
DMF at it’s finest.put spot croakers gtrout off on another entity. Anyway you read rec choices for flounder recs lose. Stripers probably going to close and catching blue cats is getting old. Guess I should be thankful to have seen it all in it’s prime.. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Get Bowed Up Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 August 2021 at 1:26am
The only thing this paper outlines is how there is nothing they can do to allow any future access to the Recreational fishery.

A quota drastically lower than historical catch at low abundance only futher restricts access as the stock rebuilds, and with +72% reduction over multi years it insures it.

For every rational not to, the same rational and more applies to why everything being recommended is doomed for the SAME end result.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 August 2021 at 9:15am
It's a total F'ed up mess.  This is front and center for a lawsuit.  There is no such thing as parity for the recreational angler or gigger when DMF has spent years formulating bag limits and size limits that took the fishery away from the recreational sector while keeping the commercial sector fishing with smaller size limits, zero daily trip limits and allowing extreme excess gear capacity and effort using highly effective gillnets and pound nets during peak migration.


Absolute and complete failure.

TOO LITTLE!  TOO LATE! TOO BAD!

Enable Commercial Fishing At Any and All Cost, Regardless of Impact to the Resource...and the economy of NC!

... don't forget that the recreational sector went from 6-fish to 4-fish not on a Southern Flounder cut but on a Summer Flounder cut because the division refuses to allow the recreational angler to have separate flounder bag limit by species...which the commercial sector does have.

Our recreational "share" of the pie was based on the four fish bag limit.  We took at 33% reduction (six fish to four fish) when the commercial sector took a zero reduction.





Edited by Rick - 03 August 2021 at 9:37am
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