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Letter to Richard B. Robins, Jr., Chairman Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Robert H. Boyles, Jr, Chairman Atlantic States Marine Fisheries

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Location: Unknown

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., Thursday commended the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council for responding to recommendations to increase the summer flounder quota for the 2011 fishing year, which represent a 25 percent increase over the 2010 fishing season's quota.

"I am encouraged by the increase in the fluke quota that was approved yesterday showing that with better stock assessments we can get higher quotas," said Pallone. "Summer flounder is a vital resource to coastal mid-Atlantic communities and we need to continue to work toward fair management of the species. I believe we need to go further in creating flexibility in quota management to ensure we continue successful rebuilding and avoid overly burdensome regulation."

Dear Chairmen Robins and Boyles:

I am writing to express my support for the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (MAFMC) and the Science and Statistical Committee's (SSC) recent recommendations of a Total Allowable Landings (TAL) of 29.48 million pounds for the 2011 fishing year for summer flounder.

The 29.48 million pound recommendation represents a 25 percent increase over the 2010 fishing season's quota. This recommendation reflects the continued rebuilding success of the summer flounder stock. The stock is currently not overfished and not subject to overfishing and with the modeling improvements made during the 2008 benchmark assessment the stock will be able to meet the rebuilding schedule. With the success of rebuilding fluke, it is vital that the fishing community be given full opportunity to access the upper bounds of the SSC recommendation.

The SSC determination that the fluke stock is making good progress is encouraging. However, recreational anglers continue to have more restrictive management measures imposed as the stock rebuilds. The unfortunate result is excessive regulatory discarding and decreased angler satisfaction, which ultimately has negative socio-economic impacts on the coastal communities along the Mid-Atlantic.

The best way to address this continuing problem is to pass the Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act of 2009 (HR 1584), which I introduced in the House of Representatives. This legislation will provide a measure of flexibility in the rebuilding periods in order to help keep fishing communities economically viable, without compromising the ultimate rebuilding goal.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.

Sincerely,

FRANK PALLONE, JR.
Member of Congress


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