Flounder legislation passes House, heads to Senate for further consideration

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09/18/21 7:22

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Optiker
Flounder legislation passes House, heads to Senate for further consideration
03/19/21 15:40


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).

-----

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.”

###


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

 

Replies ...


sman
03/19/21 23:20


Thanks opti , I’ll call congress,renegades like pea shouldn’t be allowed to gig all the egg layers.
DoubleN
03/19/21 23:33


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

Got2Go
03/21/21 9:19


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
Kerry Browning
03/21/21 12:30


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.
23sailfish-Administrator
03/22/21 11:34


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
pitviper0404
03/22/21 11:37


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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23sailfish-Administrator
03/22/21 11:54


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
pitviper0404
03/22/21 12:01


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.



_________________________

One Simple Thanks!!

http://www.militaryappreciationday.org

Optiker
03/22/21 15:29


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
Reelescape
03/22/21 17:34




The charters are destroying the population more than anything.






More than shrimp boat by-catch?



Fred67
03/22/21 21:58


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.
DoubleN
03/22/21 22:15


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
DoubleN
03/22/21 22:25


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
Fred67
03/23/21 10:18





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?
flywatt
03/23/21 11:43


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.
PeaPod
03/23/21 12:19


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.
Fred67
03/23/21 13:54


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.
Optiker
03/23/21 13:57


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
Got2Go
03/24/21 9:29


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
23sailfish-Administrator
03/24/21 11:22





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
23sailfish-Administrator
03/24/21 11:24


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.


________________________

Originally posted by Optiker


I'm pretty sure I have a great picture of you somewhere....man, that's been some years ago.




"Another poon dream splintered on the rocks of reality." --Peepod 07-25-2017
Fred67
03/26/21 23:46


Being serious here. I'm all for conservation, even more so as I age. I have no issue with the 5 fish creel. A good idea with all the new pressure from so many more people on the water and the added pollution from so much more run off from the many new houses and businesses on our coast.

Since many of us just learned all flounder over 10-12" are female. ( Again thanks for that information) Why can't we drop size limits and target some males? No doubt a big slab to get a few fillets off would be nice, but for people that are actually targeting Flounder if they get a limit of 5 ten inchers instead of a limit of 5 15inch plus flounder, would we not be increasing the breeding fish by saving females? As I've stated Many out here love the smaller scaled and cooked whole flounder. I may be looking at it all wrong?


As far as putting up an overslot limit. I've tried following this legislation, but I don't see what size would be "overslot".
CoosawYacht
04/06/21 16:55


Certainly support reducing limits and the slot. Like others posting, had no idea that legal fish were all female. Thanks for the work on this issue.

Please add a voice to those who believe that these thoughtful limits and size restriction changes probably will not change the flounder fishery's trajectory until something is done about the shrimp boats.

I drive through the shrimp boats often heading out of and back into St. Helena sound to go offshore, sometimes there are four or five at a time. Say whatever the industry wants about fish excluding devices, etc. but the hundreds of birds perched on or flying around each boat aren't there for the scenery. Same is true for the Tax Man. It would be great if all recreational fishermen could drive close to a shrimp boat sometime and watch an unload to see the massive extent of the waste and destruction for a little bit of shrimp.





Fred67
04/08/21 18:01


I don't think you would find that shrimp boat are the big culprit many believe they are. I think after a few more years of data science will show that most all our inshore decline is due to Man's development and destruction of the marshes. Pollution.

So what will be the upper slot limit? I'm sure I don't think like many catch and release guys, but really, why not a lower size limit along with that upper slot if we are taking all Females and No males?

The mention of birds? I help a friend from time to time as he needs it on a shrimp boat. The Birds are after Shrimp mostly from my experience. Not the fish, although they do get them too. You can look in this pic and see what Jelly Balls do for shrimping at times. I think if you look real close you may see 5 fish and I'd imagine most all the Jellies lived after being dumped back in. Hog chockers are probably your biggest by-catch and not worth anything to recreational fishermen. I'm not saying shrimp boats don't get some flounder from time to time, but I don't think they do what many think they do. Mostly Knee jerk. We really don't have a big shrimp fleet anymore.

tanksgt
04/08/21 19:41


I agree with Fed about by catch on shrimp boats. I sometimes help out on a rather large shrimp boat. A days work for a bucket of shrimp is a good deal when he is short handed. We keep a "crew bucket" on the deck for what are called "eating fish" from the by catch. Sometimes we get a flounder but not very often. The fish I love from this bucket is the occasional triple tail!


ZX
StumpNocker
04/12/21 12:34


Finally! Thanks for the input, Opt!thumbsUp


Fishing Nerd

"No bar, no pinball machines, no bowling alleys, just pool... nothing else."

...well, some fishing too!
fatrat357
04/21/21 13:23


I don't follow the discussion forum but when the subject is about flounders it caught my eyes. I knew the initiative was happening and as I try chasing flounders I haven't caught 10 at any given time. So dropping the bag limit to 5 would not be an issue with me and if they increase the slot size that would probably drop my keep limit to none. Bushy Park has not produced many door mats in the number of years I've fished for flounders. Either way I'll support the program.


"Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education"

220 SeaFox Viper
Bowhunter
06/22/21 21:51


Well, I'll assume by now that everyone has seen the new regulations on flounder that go into affect July 1, 2021. But if you haven't, here's a brief rundown. No slot but the minimum size increased from 15" to 16", possession limit will be 5 per person with a 10 per boat limit. Salt water license costs will increase, also.

Just like the redfish limits that were tightened years ago and all the other stricter limits imposed over the past few years, I will never in my lifetime see the limits go back the other way even if flounder, spottails, and trout started jumping in the boat like the Asian Carp do.


-The size of a fish is directly proportional to the time between when it's lost and the story is told. - Me
-What's the best eating fish, you ask? I've found that for a lot people, its the ones that they happen to be able to catch, clean, and cook. - My Dad (1/13/37 - 9/27/16 I love you Pops)
-Until you have loved a dog, part of your soul remains unawakened. Anatole France (paraphrased)
-RIP my "Puppy Dog" 10/15/2004 - 1/14/2013. I'll never forget him. What a special friend he was.
-Team Gonna Fish
mdaddy
06/23/21 4:36


I don't follow the discussion forum but when the subject is about flounders it caught my eyes. I knew the initiative was happening and as I try chasing flounders I haven't caught 10 at any given time. So dropping the bag limit to 5 would not be an issue with me and if they increase the slot size that would probably drop my keep limit to none. Bushy Park has not produced many door mats in the number of years I've fished for flounders. Either way I'll support the program.


"Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education"

220 SeaFox ViperOriginally posted by fatrat357


I reckon you know where flounders are. do you know what a Killie fush is???? They the little fush you see in the surf on the beach. You gots to get some of them.

Flounder can't pass them up. Mud minnows...MEH. Find some sand...current...and a Killie fush for bait...you'll find your door mat...eventually.

Not fushing advice...risk involved in any endeavor.

Gigging is easy...catching is hard.

Not telling the KOBP whats up...just what I've seen.


The ENTER-NET Fisherman
PeaPod
07/03/21 13:08


congrats on adjudicator status ole man. soak it in, you won't have it long
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