Flounder legislation passes House, heads to Senate for further consideration


Below is a press release from CCA South Carolina. If you haven't been following, or been in attendance at the SCDNR presentations, Flounder have been in a 10 year decline, per statistical sampling using trammel nets. In response, NC has closed their flounder fishery last year and is in discussions about this year. SC has been slowly reducing creel limits, but this will only affect gigging, as taking a limit of flounder by hook and line is almost unheard of. In my experience and in informal polls of other experienced fishermen, the average catch is 1 or 2 legal flounder per trip. So, going from a creel limit of 10 to 5 will have no effect among hook and line anglers. All flounder of legal size are female (did you know that?) and the best and simplest way to protect the brood stock is to add an upper slot. Please contact your state Representative and Senator and tell them you are in support of H.3957, in particular the upper slot. We need to make a change that will ensure healthy stocks in the future, and the side benefit is a lot of doormat flounder to catch (and release).

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3021-10 McNaughton Dr., Columbia, SC 29223

Website: www.ccasouthcarolina.com Email: Swhitaker@ccasouthcarolina.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 18, 2021 CONTACT: Scott Whitaker 803-865-4164

Flounder legislation passes House, heads to Senate for further consideration

Columbia, S.C. – With a vote of 106 to 3, the South Carolina House of Representatives has advanced legislation that would adjust the state’s flounder regulations with an emphasis on increasing the spawning stock of the popular species. H. 3957 was introduced in late February by a bi-partisan group of legislators based on concerns from anglers, constituents, and data from the first ever regional stock assessment indicating that the fishery continues its downward spiral. The legislation comes after 18 months of meetings and discussion among fisheries managers, the angling community, and state decisions makers.

“We are thrilled by the level of engagement that has been shown and the willingness to act by both bodies of the General Assembly” said CCA SC Government Affairs Committee Chairman, Tombo Milliken. “Recreational anglers in SC have consistently asked for conservation measures to be taken over the years and yet we find ourselves at a place that further action simply must be taken, and we have willing partners throughout the state management process eager to respond.”

South Carolina is not alone in the need to take action to address declining flounder numbers. From Texas to North Carolina, states are enacting new management steps as a response to troubling stock assessments. A first of its kind regional stock assessment provided in 2019 suggested that southern flounder harvest be reduced by 72 percent across the South Atlantic region (North Carolina to Florida), with North Carolina implementing a 45-day season for recreational anglers. Florida also acted in December to reduce its harvest.

The legislation passed in the South Carolina House of Representatives would implement a 5-fish-per-person creel limit with a maximum 10 fish boat limit. It would also implement a 16”-20” slot limit on the size of flounder, with anglers being able to retain 1 fish over that slot limit per person and a maximum of 2 per boat. While utilized in the management of other species, red drum and black drum for example in South Carolina and spotted seat trout in states such as Texas, Alabama, and Florida, the SC flounder slot limit would be the first time it has been implemented in the country for flounder management. The principle behind the measure in all the cases is the same; to bolster the larger spawning stock of females.

The legislation now resides in the Senate and has been referred to the Fish, Game, and Forestry Committee, where CCA SC anticipates additional management measures will be considered and with the same enthusiasm by members to act.

“Looking back on the process, the level of engagement from state fisheries managers at the SCDNR to frame the issue, elected officials in both bodies of the House and Senate to work on bi-partisan legislation, and from the recreational community to engage the process, has been remarkable” said Scott Whitaker, executive director of CCA SC. “We’ll see where the developments take us in the coming weeks.”

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1966 13' Boston Whaler "Flatty"
2018 Sportsman Masters 207
www.eyestrikefishing.com #predatorsstriketheeye
Replies

Thanks opti , I’ll call congress,renegades like pea shouldn’t be allowed to gig all the egg layers.
As a gigger, very seldom, as mostly bow fish at Clarks Hill. As much as I hate it, I agree serious Regs should be implemented.

Coworker went with flounder gigging charter out of Hilton Head and slaughtered them. Can't even imagine how many a charter for gigging would kill in one year. Night after night!

Thanks
NN

As a gigger, very seldom, as mostly bow fish at Clarks Hill. As much as I hate it, I agree serious Regs should be implemented.

Coworker went with flounder gigging charter out of Hilton Head and slaughtered them. Can't even imagine how many a charter for gigging would kill in one year. Night after night!

Thanks
NN




Originally posted by DoubleN




I definitely agree Glenn. I just wonder how healthy the fishery and ecosystem would be if shrimp boats were eliminated? Just saying


Philippians 4:13


Pioneer 197SF
Congrats David. I know how hard you’ve worked on this. It’s a good first step for sure!
Still, not sure I’ve ever caught an 18 inch and an over 20 in the same day.
#releaseover20 for flounder will have more effect for anglers in my opinion.
Thanks for all you do for the fishing community.
As much as I hate to say it, gigging needs to be stopped.

The charters are destroying the population more than anything. I love gigging; I really love it, but I've stopped due to the serious decline I started to see myself 5-6 years ago.

Again, its not the average angler that's causing the issue, but it will be the average angler that has to pay the price.




"Another poon dream splintered on the rocks of reality." --Peepod 07-25-2017
There are many varibles that lead towards the decline of the flounder population. I doubt you will see much change from this piece of one sided legislation to make a difference. I like to flounder gig, in the past 3 years, I went 5 times. With two of us in the boat, we averaged around 5 flounder and out limit on slot reds. For the most part, recreational gigging is not the issue. If they want to make a serious attempt at turning the problem around, they need to make serious changes across the board. A flounder season for all fisherman would have a better effect. If you could capture real numbers, you would see that more flounder are harvested on rod and real than by gigging.



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There are a few gigging charters in Charleston, and they average 100-150 trips a year. At 20 fish a night, that's a lot of dead flounder.




"Another poon dream splintered on the rocks of reality." --Peepod 07-25-2017
There are a few gigging charters in Charleston, and they average 100-150 trips a year. At 20 fish a night, that's a lot of dead flounder.




"Another poon dream splintered on the rocks of reality." --Peepod 07-25-2017Originally posted by 23Sailfish


I get that. Institute a season on flounder, say 6 months a year and cut that number in half as well as the amount caught on rods and you would harvest less fish than you would by just changing the limit.



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The missing piece of the puzzle here is what has support of the legislators, and what does not. From what I have heard, there is zero support for a closed season. There is also strong support of gigging. Why I like the upper slot, is that it protects the breeder females for a good portion of their lives. The more fish we can get above the slot the more fish we should have, for hook and line anglers and for giggers. No one has reliable data on how much giggers contribute to the haul. Lots of opinions, little data. Not instituting an upper slot, and reducing the creel from 10 to 5 will impact hook and line anglers almost nothing. IF, and only if, giggers are contributing the majority of the haul, then it might move the needle. The senators need to know if you agree with me that we need an upper slot. Please message them.


________________________
1966 13' Boston Whaler "Flatty"
2018 Sportsman Masters 207
www.eyestrikefishing.com #predatorsstriketheeye


The charters are destroying the population more than anything.






More than shrimp boat by-catch?