Volume 37, Issue 6 p. 1231-1242
Management Brief

Evaluating the Potential for a Sex-Balanced Harvest Approach in the Recreational Summer Flounder Fishery

Jason M. Morson

Corresponding Author

Jason M. Morson

Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 6959 Miller Avenue, Port Norris, New Jersey, 08349 USA

Corresponding author: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
Daphne Munroe

Daphne Munroe

Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 6959 Miller Avenue, Port Norris, New Jersey, 08349 USA

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Ryan Harner

Ryan Harner

Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 6959 Miller Avenue, Port Norris, New Jersey, 08349 USA

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Rachel Marshall

Rachel Marshall

Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 6959 Miller Avenue, Port Norris, New Jersey, 08349 USA

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First published: 21 August 2017
Citations: 7

Abstract

Summer Flounder Paralichthys dentatus support important recreational and commercial fisheries along the northeast and mid-Atlantic coasts of the USA. In the recreational sector, management efforts to constrain harvest below the maximum allowable catch have typically involved increasing the minimum landing size; however, females grow faster than males. Thus, reliance on increased minimum size limits as a management strategy has resulted in approximately 90% of the recent recreational landings being large, female fish. We evaluated the potential for slot limits to produce a sex-balanced harvest in the recreational Summer Flounder fishery. To estimate the size- and sex-specific vulnerability, we sampled the landed and discarded fish (n = 3,290) caught by recreational anglers on select party boats from New Jersey to Rhode Island during the 2016 recreational fishing season. We then examined the performance of a wide array of slot limits to estimate which would have promoted a more sex-balanced harvest while maintaining a fixed fishing mortality given the observed catch composition. We demonstrate that slot limits applied to the recreational Summer Flounder fishery have the potential to simultaneously meet multiple management objectives, including the conservation of female biomass while maintaining a fixed fishing mortality; however, no single slot limit performed best at all sampling locations. Results should therefore be viewed as optimal given the observed catch composition for the year, fishing mode, and locations that were observed, and further evaluation of interannual, spatial, and fishing mode variability is warranted.

Received March 17, 2017; accepted July 26, 2017Published online October 20, 2017