Fish fight: managers say NJ flounder flap harms conservation

July 17, 2017 - 11:46 am

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Interstate fishing managers say a row with a Trump administration appointee over the regulation of flounder fishing off New Jersey jeopardizes conservation of marine species all along the East Coast.

The flatfish in question is summer flounder, which is popular with sport fishermen and commercial fishermen from Maine to Florida. The regulatory Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced in June that it had found the state of New Jersey out of compliance with management of the fishery.

But Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross needed to sign off on the ruling, and he instead reversed it. An Atlantic States spokeswoman says Ross's ruling is extremely rare and has the potential to soften the commission's regulatory authority.

A spokesman for the Department of Commerce didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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