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From the Jersey Coast Anglers Association's Facebook page on Feb. 1:

Fluke Regulation Update 2-1-17

I participated in a conference call hosted by DEP Commissioner Bob Martin today regarding what could happen regarding the fluke regulations.

Most of the major groups were on this call and all agreed that we were going to fight the options that the MAFMC/ASMFC is trying to force upon us via Addendum XXIII.

We are steadfastly saying we are going to maintain status quo and we are not compromising.

We need all of our groups and individual fishermen to support that position despite what the consequences might be.

The Commissioner will be testifying on our behalf at the ASMFC meeting tomorrow, 2/2, beginning at 8 AM.

He is requesting our support at the meeting, so if any of you can make it, please do so.

The meeting is in Alexandria, VA. Details are included in the link below.

You may also listen in on this meeting via the webinar by visiting this site and registering under the "live streaming" section: http://www.asmfc.org/home/2017-winter-meeting

There is reasonable chance that representatives from other states will choose one of the options in the addendum.

Each state or region would then have approximately two months to develop regulations that would comply with this mandate.

Though NJ has already decided to go out of compliance, I don't believe that we could actually be found out of compliance until the deadline to enact regulations has passed.

Then, I believe at the ASMFC meeting in May we could be found out of compliance and our state would probably be given a warning notice with 30 days to comply.

If we fail to comply, it would then be sent to the Secretary of Commerce who would then have to show that our regulations were hurting the fishery and if so we could possibly be shut down or have the default measures enacted upon us.

That would be 2 fish at 20" with a season of 7/1 - 8/31.

However, all this would take time and there is also a chance the Secretary of Commerce could give a favorable ruling.

If it goes this route, a decision will probably not be made until mid-summer.

This is a big risk we are taking but we have now drawn a line in the sand.

As the Commissioner stated, "Enough is enough".

Please continue to contact your legislative representatives and ask for their support.

Paul Haertel - JCAA Past President

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