SAVE THE SUMMER FLOUNDER FISHERY FUND TO CHALLENGE EXISTING MRFSS RECREATIONAL LANDINGS DATA
The Save the Summer Flounder Fishery Fund (SSFFF), a nonprofit organization formed in New Jersey to seek both scientific
and legislative solutions to the continuing crisis facing recreational anglers who wish to fairly access the summer flounder
fishery, has announced that HDR Engineering P.C. has been retained to independently review and investigate the governments
current 2009 Summer Flounder landings data.
Despite the degree of the economic downturn in the USA, the unprecedented
amount of inclement weather this past summer, and by almost all accounts, a general downturn in angler participation, the
Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey (MRFSS) has determined that increasingly significant landings of Summer Flounder
have occurred! The MRFSS data also shows effort and participation numbers at odds with first hand industry observations!
This Information is completely contrary to evidence gathered from marine fisheries businesses up and down the coast.
“The fact that MRFSS has once again come up with landings numbers that do not reflect reality should not come
as a surprise to anyone,” said Greg Hueth, president of the Shark River Surf Anglers and one of the founders of SSFFF.
“Nevertheless, these statistics MUST be challenged and a more accurate picture of landings in the Summer Flounder fishery
must be taken if we are to avoid more unnecessary restrictions,” Mr.. Hueth said.
“To even suggest
that anglers somehow exceeded their quota in the Summer Flounder fishery in light of the circumstances of the past year is
just ludicrous,” said Dave Arbeitman, owner of The Reel Seat tackle shop in Brielle, NJ, and also a founder of SSFFF.
“NMFS has yet to fix the MRFSS system as mandated by the newly re-authorized Magnuson Stevens Act, and we fishermen
continue to pay the price for bad data.”
Working in concert with the National Marine Fisheries Service,
SSFFF has already begun to acquire the landings information to assist in this analysis. “It is our hope that with a
thorough analysis of the data, combined with additional information provided by the for-hire industry, the Regional Climate
Center and various Marine Trades Associations that we can provide a more accurate accounting of the Summer Flounder recreational
fisheries landings for 2009,” said Capt. Tony Bogan, a member of the SSFFF Executive Committee and part of the Bogan
Family of fishermen from Brielle, NJ.
The Save the Summer Flounder Fishery Fund (SSFFF) is a nonprofit organization
comprised of recreational anglers, party and charter boat operators, bait and tackle stores, tackle distributors, bait wholesalers,
and others whose livelihoods are dependent on a healthy and vibrant recreational fishing industry. SSFFF has as its mission
a comprehensive approach to safeguarding the publics‘ access to Summer Flounder.
More information about
SSFFF can be found at its website, www.ssfff.net, along with updates on both the legislative and scientific
goals it is committed to achieving.