DNREC: Fluke Season Ends Wednesday

Delaware’s recreational fishing season for summer flounder or “fluke” will close on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife announced today. The season will reopen on Jan. 1, 2011.

The season closure is part of the management actions for 2010 designed to prevent recreational summer flounder harvest from exceeding Delaware’s federally mandated quota. The federal quota changes from year to year, depending on how well the summer flounder stock is doing across the coast.

In 2010, the summer flounder recreational quota in the state of Delaware was 80,000 fish. With considerable public involvement, the DNREC adopted an 18.5-inch size limit, four fish bag limit and season closure, to achieve this harvest quota.

“So far, it looks like these fishing regulations will be very successful at keeping us at or below the 80,000 harvest quota for fluke in 2010,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife biometrician Richard Wong.

Predicting the following year’s harvest can be extremely difficult because weather and fish availability are so fickle from one year to the next. “Nonetheless, the State of Delaware has been an excellent steward of the resource by keeping to annual quotas with regularity. Our outstanding track record and conservation are something the state and its anglers can be proud of,” Wong added.

Typically, the next year’s quota is announced late in the year by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). At that time, states from Massachusetts to North Carolina, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NMFS will begin crafting size, bag and season limits necessary to stay under quotas and to ensure a sustainable summer flounder resource. The Department encourages public participation in this process and plans a public hearing on summer flounder recreational fishing measures in March.

For more information, contact Richard Wong, DNREC Fisheries, at 302-735-2960.

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