Meetings to focus on cutting catch of summer flounder

April 13, 2001|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Maryland anglers face sudden cuts in the amount of summer flounder they'll be allowed to catch as the result of a federal court order.

The state Department of Natural Resources has scheduled two public meetings to talk about ways to reduce the flounder catch in the coming season, which opens Sunday. The first meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Ave. in Annapolis. The second is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Ocean City Town Hall, 301 Baltimore Ave.

The flat-headed, white-fleshed fish is a popular catch among sport fishermen along Ocean City beaches and in the Chesapeake Bay.

For the past several years, commercial fishing associations and environmental groups from several states have sued the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which sets quotas for the flounder catch. The commercial fishermen claim the quotas are unfairly set, while the environmentalists say the quotas aren't strict enough to protect the species, which is considered overfished.

To settle the latest lawsuit, the commission agreed last week to order all Atlantic Coast states to reduce recreational and commercial catches. To meet the new limits, the state will consider reducing the number of fish anglers can take, a DNR spokesman said.

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