VMRC Finfish Management Advisory Committee Meeting Update
Flounder, Speckled Trout
By Dr. Ken Neill, III
Flounder: Virginia anglers have come in well under their quota the past couple of years (according to survey data that is always questionable). Added to this is a coastwide increase of 35%. This allows Virginia to more than double this year’s recreational catch. It will be bad if we go over our target (according to the future improved survey). In the past when we went over, we just had to adjust the following year to show on paper that it would not likely happen again. In the future, if we go over, we have to adjust the regulations to show, on paper, that we will not go over again and that we will go under enough to “pay back” the previous overage. This is new, we have not had to actually pay back overages in the past. Virginia has pre-approved options of 3 or 4 fish bag limits with minimum sizes of 17 to 18 inches (last year minimum was 18.5 inches). While the 17 inch options work on paper, both the ASMFC and VMRC staff say those options carry the greatest risk of going over. Finfish recommended a 4-fish bag limit, 17.5 inch minimum.
VMRC staff strongly pointed out that they would be in a much better position when dealing with the ASMFC if Virginia’s recreational anglers would just use the on-line log book: www.vasaltwaterjournal.com
Speckled Trout: Also discussed last night speckled trout. This has been going on for over a year now due to the initiative of the Tidewater Angler’s Club. Agree with them or not, these people deserve a bunch of credit for going through a lot of effort to actually do something. Their current proposal is a wintertime reduction of the recreational baglimit to 5 fish and only 1 of these fish could be over 24 inches. Finfish voted to send this proposal to the Commission for public hearing.