The summer flounder, or fluke, Paralichthys dentatus, supports the most important commercial and recreational flatfish fisheries of the US Atlantic coast. The stock and fishery range from Massachusetts to North Carolina. The assessment and management of the summer flounder fishery has been very contentious since implementation of the joint Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission/Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Fishery Management Plan (FMP) in 1989, when the poor status of the summer flounder stock was evident to scientists, managers, and fishermen. Management efforts to control fishing mortality in the face of increasing stock abundance and competing demand for fish from both the commercial and recreational sectors continue to evoke the question of “How much fish is enough?” to provide for long-term sustainability. In spite of the numerous controversies, however, by 2010 the fishing mortality on summer flounder had declined to its lowest level in at least 30 years, and summer flounder stock biomass was the highest since the stock assessments began in the 1960s. From a scientific perspective, future assessments need to: (a) better account for the uncertainty resulting from “internal model” retrospective error, (b) better integrate environmental, ecological, and other non-traditional calibration indices into the modeling framework, and (c) better discern summer flounder stock-recruitment dynamics by considering covariates such as environmental factors and predator/prey abundance. Initiatives are underway to acquire improved fishery and biological data to allow the assessments to better reflect the true “state of nature.”
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 13, 2011
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