Flounder, anglers, winner with new legislation
Columbia, S.C. – Conservationist and recreational anglers across the state are praising the efforts of the South Carolina General Assembly in passing new flounder management measures, a move long proposed by Coastal Conservation Association South Carolina (CCA SC). The passage of H. 3664 is consistent with both CCA SC’s and the SCDNR’s call for taking proactive management approaches to manage our state’s marine resources and to support a species before deep and often drastic draconian measures are required.
“We appreciate Senator Campsen and Cromer and Representative Hixon and Hewitt’s leadership on this issue the last two sessions and we applaud the entire General Assembly for their willingness to address anglers’ concerns” said Tombo Milliken, CCA SC Government Relations Committee member. “Because of the progression of meaningful management steps taken over the years, right now the recreational angling community’s eyes are wide open to the value and level of importance that South Carolina continues to place on its marine resources and recreational angling opportunities across the board”.
The new regulation is rooted in recent flounder stock data obtained through studies and surveys conducted by the Marine Resources Division of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Passage of the measure makes several changes to current regulations including a minimum size limit increase from 14 inches to 15 inches. This change in and of itself is estimated to protect as much as 30 percent of the sexual mature females. In addition, flounder that reach that size also show a significant increase in spawning capacity thus contributing to the overall abundance of the population. The measure also calls for a reduction in the creel limit from 15 fish per person per day to 10 fish per person per day with a daily maximum boat limit of 20.
Caught along the entire coastline, flounder are one of the most popular recreational species in South Carolina. The Palmetto State is home to up to three separate but similar species of “flat fish”, summer flounder, southern flounder, and gulf flounder yet anglers and managers alike simply refer to them as a single entity with only minor differences. Taken as a whole, flounder have been a highly prized staple in the traditional pursuit and harvest of generations of anglers via a variety of harvest methods.
“Anglers today, more than any other time, are prepared to take reasonable action for the improved, sustainable management of our fisheries” said CCA SC executive director Scott Whitaker. “Finally, this step for flounder, in conjunction with the many other sound fisheries management actions taken by the state of South Carolina, will play a profound role in the future opportunities and enjoyment of our fisheries by anglers for years to come”.