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Thiele bucks flounder reduction plan


JULIE LANE PHOTO | Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr.
JULIE LANE PHOTO | Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr.

(I-Sag Harbor) is protesting a proposed 43 percent reduction in the numbers of flounder anglers can take during the 2016 harvest.“The implications and economic tragedies resulting from such a reduction will have resounding negative consequences on the entire East Coast,” Mr. Thiele said in a letter to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

He’s asked Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to start legal proceedings against the Fishery Management Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service challenging application of the quota allocation to New York.

The data supporting the cutback is “based on old, incomplete and faulty information,” justifying legal action, Mr. Thiele said.

While the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s intent was designed to protect the stock of flounder, it fails because of “infrequent, inconsistent and poor quality data” that has produced “inaccurate estimates” of summer flounder, the assemblyman added.

The most recent federal stock assessments “overestimated recruitment, underestimated fishing mortality and overestimated the size of stocks,” he said, and had there been a 2014 summer flounder stock assessment, there might be insight into the status of the fish stock.

“Perhaps then, more gradual reductions could have been suggested and implemented over the course of a few years, as opposed to one,” Mr. Thiele said.

A second bill, awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature, would establish a small business commercial fishing industry advocate and a small business commercial fishing economic development program in New York State.

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