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

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 07-25-2017Originally posted by 23Sailfish


I'm all for true science and helping our fishery, but stop all gigging?! As many on here are pointing out about charters and 150 trips a year.. That's a lot of fish harvested, too many... I can see a well trafficked area being depleted, quick. Let's stop charters and/or put a season on gigging. Let's not cut off our nose in spite of our face. I've got grands coming up and I don't want them to miss out on a gigging trip once or twice a year.

As to upper slot limits, I can see that for rod and reel, but measuring a fish under water is a bit tricky. So what happens when we gig an over slot? It's not going to have a chance on the release. Just pointing out another point of view.

Thank you Optiker, I never realized all flounder of legal size are female. Didn't know the males stayed small. Maybe go back to a lower size limit so some males are taken? Some of you might hate me for this, but I love a good 10-12" flounder scaled and pan fried whole. I like that better than a flounder filleted.

Going to 5 fish limit per person, what will boat limit be? I do feel 20 per boat in Today's crowed waterways are too many. I'd be happy to see the boat limit 5. I totally agree this will not affect most any angler. My personal life time best on rod was 9, with 4 keepers.
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 07-25-2017Originally posted by 23Sailfish


I'm all for true science and helping our fishery, but stop all gigging?! As many on here are pointing out about charters and 150 trips a year.. That's a lot of fish harvested, too many... I can see a well trafficked area being depleted, quick. Let's stop charters and/or put a season on gigging. Let's not cut off our nose in spite of our face. I've got grands coming up and I don't want them to miss out on a gigging trip once or twice a year.

As to upper slot limits, I can see that for rod and reel, but measuring a fish under water is a bit tricky. So what happens when we gig an over slot? It's not going to have a chance on the release. Just pointing out another point of view.

Thank you Optiker, I never realized all flounder of legal size are female. Didn't know the males stayed small. Maybe go back to a lower size limit so some males are taken? Some of you might hate me for this, but I love a good 10-12" flounder scaled and pan fried whole. I like that better than a flounder filleted.

Going to 5 fish limit per person, what will boat limit be? I do feel 20 per boat in Today's crowed waterways are too many. I'd be happy to see the boat limit 5. I totally agree this will not affect most any angler. My personal life time best on rod was 9, with 4 keepers. Originally posted by Fred67


Fred, looks like 10 fish per boat. As far as guessing, know width of gig, then put in water just above target. Works well for me if thinking may be short.

NN
Hey, gotta tell y'all this trick you may already know. Buddy from Bft went with me last time I went. He had previously told me that you can put a dip net down right in front of the flounder, then gently touch it's tail with gig. Boom, right in the net.

Sooo, while out there I said, prove what you said is true. Low and behold, right in the net. No holes and swam away healthy!

Now that was cool, to me!! Need one of those nets that has the flat front for best results.

NN



Fred, looks like 10 fish per boat. As far as guessing, know width of gig, then put in water just above target. Works well for me if thinking may be short.

NNOriginally posted by DoubleN

I'm good on the short, I was just concerned about if an over the slot limit is placed. I'm thinking if the size limit was reduced, since I just learned all the males are under legal limit, maybe that would help with reducing female flounder take and lead to better fish stock? Thinking it over it seems kind of foolish for Us all to just focus on females.

Optiker got me searching. Seldom does a male grow larger than 10" and rarely makes it to 12". ( I really did not know this) Let's lower the size limit back to 10" and lower creel limits as stated to 5. People get their limit quicker and more females survive. ?????? Wasn't the decline noticed after the increase in size limit creel?
I must really suck at catching flounder. 1-2 average? I'm looking at 1-2 a year! lol! On a serious note, if it's good for the fishery, I support it! Looking forward to getting back out there.
Opti, i appreciate what you're trying to do.

i think i hate the rest of you. except pitviper

yall seen shrimp boat bycatch, right?

how bout rain runoff from a subivision? or from any plant?

but sure, band giggin. low hanging fruit and all.
Opti, i appreciate what you're trying to do.

i think i hate the rest of you. except pitviper

yall seen shrimp boat bycatch, right?

how bout rain runoff from a subivision? or from any plant?

but sure, band giggin. low hanging fruit and all. Originally posted by PeaPod


No one hates you Peapad. I see what you have done. Not all blame should be given to giggers, and I agree. Anglers and Giggers remind me of back in the day sheep farmers vs Cattle farmers.

Yes I have seen shrimp boat bycatch. I'd say what people are actually gigging can not equal the death caused by commercial shrimping. Lot's of angles to look at before we do a knee jerk. I don't think anyone wants our Flounder fishery to be like Grouper, BSB, or ARS.
Peapod you make a good point. I've heard from a prominent captain (name excluded) who has noted a correlation with good flounder years to the date that the shrimp season has opened. Later opening...more flounder. Makes sense to me. Pollution likely contributes, as well as sea temperature warming. Warmer water during spawn makes all males (I think).

My question is, what is the best way to protect the females, despite what the causes are or may be? Upper slot!

Re: measuring fish while gigging. I've been gigging once ever (thanks 23), it was fun, and IMO its easy to measure the length accurately by lining up your 4" gig. The fish are just sitting there. I'm not anti-gigging, I'm pro-sustainability.


________________________
1966 13' Boston Whaler "Flatty"
2018 Sportsman Masters 207
www.eyestrikefishing.com #predatorsstriketheeye
Peapod you make a good point. I've heard from a prominent captain (name excluded) who has noted a correlation with good flounder years to the date that the shrimp season has opened. Later opening...more flounder. Makes sense to me. Pollution likely contributes, as well as sea temperature warming. Warmer water during spawn makes all males (I think).

My question is, what is the best way to protect the females, despite what the causes are or may be? Upper slot!

Re: measuring fish while gigging. I've been gigging once ever (thanks 23), it was fun, and IMO its easy to measure the length accurately by lining up your 4" gig. The fish are just sitting there. I'm not anti-gigging, I'm pro-sustainability.


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





Pro-sustainability....get rid of shrimp boats off of our coast.

So much damage for so little shrimp...you’d see a boom in all kinds of stuff.

Shrimp farms. Crawfish farms. All kinds of good sustainable options imo

Thanks Dave for all of your efforts. I just feel as I, the recreational angler, is getting punished again while the commercials get a pass and a blind eye turned again to them. Again


Philippians 4:13


Pioneer 197SF



Pro-sustainability....get rid of shrimp boats off of our coast.

So much damage for so little shrimp...you’d see a boom in all kinds of stuff.

Shrimp farms. Crawfish farms. All kinds of good sustainable options imo

Thanks Dave for all of your efforts. I just feel as I, the recreational angler, is getting punished again while the commercials get a pass and a blind eye turned again to them. Again


Philippians 4:13


Pioneer 197SFOriginally posted by Got2Go


Being from here, there's not a lot of real locals here now, its been a sad transition to see the shrimp boats disappear from Shem Creek over time.

Its a different world now. Sadly, you're probably right, its time for them to go. It hurts my heart. And I have family that owns boats up north (McClenllanville).




"Another poon dream splintered on the rocks of reality." --Peepod 07-25-2017