Albany, NY - July 15, 2015 - Governor Cuomo called on the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council to reevaluate a potential 43 percent fluke harvest reduction for New York in 2016. The potential reduction would negatively affect both commercial and recreational fisheries in New York State.
“The fishing industry is an important part of this state's economy and a swift and severe cut in fluke harvests would be devastating to these hard working New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. “This administration has long worked with its federal partners to ensure these livelihoods, as well as our natural resources, are protected. If the science indicates harvest reductions are necessary, they should be implemented in small steps over several years and not through a drastic one-year measure."
The potential reductions are based on several consecutive years of lower than average reproductive success and not as a result of overharvest in New York or elsewhere on the coast.
For more than a decade, New York’s recreational and commercial fishing community has been at a disadvantage for fluke harvest because managers used old data to establish limits. New York’s neighboring states enjoyed longer seasons, smaller size and larger bag limits in the recreational fishery and only 7 percent of the commercial coastal landings. In 2014 Governor Cuomo took action, advocating for similar limits among New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. New York’s efforts led to a pending major amendment to the Fishery Management Plan to correct the inequitable fluke allocation in the commercial fishery. The recent announcement by MAFMC could put all these advances in jeopardy.
MAFMC’s Science and Statistical Committee will meet on July 22 in Baltimore, MD to review the recent stock assessment and provide recommendations. A joint meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and MAFMC will then occur on August 12 in New York City to decide on management measures based upon the recent assessment. New York will be represented by four Council members to the MAFMC and three Commissioners to ASMFC who will further advocate for less drastic reductions.