WASHINGTON, D.C. – After months of fighting against proposed reductions on summer flounder harvest limits for New Jersey commercial and recreational fishermen, U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today applauded U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ decision late last night to accept New Jersey’s management plan.
“Commerce Secretary Ross’ decision to adopt New Jersey’s conservation equivalency plan for summer flounder signals a win-win for our fishing industry and conservation efforts,” said LoBiondo. “For months I have argued that NOAA and ASMFC were flawed in their data and decision-making process, creating a significant and arbitrary disadvantage to New Jersey fishermen. Going forward we must reform the use of questionable methodologies and outdated science by federal bureaucrats that, left unchecked, will again threaten fishing operations in South Jersey. I will continue to work with my colleagues and Commerce Secretary Ross to protect the critical fishing industry in South Jersey as well as the summer flounder stocks.”
Earlier this month LoBiondo joined with fellow New Jersey Representative Chris Smith (NJ-04) and other members of the Congressional delegation to urge delaying 2017-2018 restrictions on New Jersey fishermen proposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).
The letter requested Commerce Secretary Ross consider the management plan proposed by the state of New Jersey, and urged him to, "work administratively with the State of New Jersey to approve, implement and enforce New Jersey’s 2017 Summer Flounder regulations.” The full letter is available here.
In March LoBiondo introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) 2017 and 2018 summer flounder quotas for recreational and commercial fishing from going into effect. H.R. 1411, the “Transparent Summer Flounder Quotas Act” would require a new stock assessment prior to implementation of 2017-2018 Summer Flounder and Black Sea Bass Commercial Accountability Measures.
In addition to meeting with Commerce Secretary Ross on the summer flounder issue and submitting testimony for the official record at public hearings, LoBiondo joined by New Jersey lawmakers has urged NOAA and ASMFC to modify the restrictions going back to the Obama Administration:
- January 5, 2017 - Letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker (Obama Administration) regarding the reduction of quotas recreational/commercial harvest limits for summer flounder.
- February 28, 2017 - Letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (Trump Administration) expressing concern with ASMFC vote to approve restrictions.
- April 3, 2017 - Letter to House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop supporting the Transparent Summer Flounder Quotas Act.
- July 5, 2017 - Letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urging the support of New Jersey’s Conservation Equivalency Plan.