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Summer Flounder

Stock Assessment Q&A

How is the health of the summer flounder stock?

Summer flounder are currently not overfished, but overfishing is occurring. The good news is we are seeing older ages present within the stock. We are concerned about the recent 6-year trend of below-average numbers of young fish entering the stock to replace older fish that die.

Are any new data included in this assessment?

In July 2018 we expect new estimates of recreational catch to be released for a range of fishery species NOAA helps manage, including summer flounder. These new catch estimates will be incorporated into the summer flounder stock assessment.

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center has also worked with the fishing industry through the Northeast Trawl Advisory Panel and the NEFSC Cooperative Research Branch to develop new estimates of‘efficiency’ for the federal research trawl survey aboard the NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow. These new estimates will be included in the 2018 benchmark stock assessment.

Scientists will also be exploring models that include sex-specific catch and biological data, in an attempt to better reflect the size differences between males and females.

What is fishing gear ‘efficiency’ and how does it affect summer flounder?

‘Efficiency’ is the measurement of how effectively a fishing gear catches the fish in its path. From 2015 to 2017 the NEFSC worked to estimate this efficiency for summer flounder during the federal resource survey conducted twice a year on the NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow. this work was done in partnership with commercial fishing vessels under the direction of the NEFSC Cooperative Research Branch and the Northeast Trawl Advisory Panel, an advisory body to the regional federal fishery management councils.

What is the range of summer flounder?

The summer flounder that are included in the northeast US stock range from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The summer flounder that are found south of Cape Hatteras are assessed separately.

Are we seeing shifts in distribution within the summer flounder stock?

State and federal surveys have detected more summer flounder in the northern areas of their range over the last 10-15 years.

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