Last updated on 9 August 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Paralichthys dentatus

SPECIES NAME(s)

Summer flounder

COMMON NAMES

Fluke, Plaice, Long-toothed flounder, Common flounder

The Summer flounder Paralichthys dentatus is an important commercial and recreational fish along the US Atlantic seaboard, inhabit estuarine and coastal waters, from the Gulf of Maine to South Carolina, but the commercial fishery is not substantial in the southernmost extent of its range (between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and Florida). The estuaries of Pamlico Sound, North Carolina are believed to be a major nursery ground for juvenile summer flounder from the Middle Atlantic Bight (Cape Hatteras northward to Cape Cod) and South Atlantic stocks, but this is uncertain because dispersal patterns are not well understood (MAFMC 1998).

In the commercial fishery, which accounts for about 50% of the total annual catch, bottom trawls are commonly used to catch Summer Flounder. A major rod-and-reel recreational fishery accounts for the rest. Bycatch is low in both fisheries and this population is currently being rebuilt and is no longer considered to be overfished (NMFS 1999).

This species exhibits high natural population variability driven by broad-scale environmental change (e.g. El Nino; decadal oscillations) and, does not have special behaviors that increase ease or population consequences of capture OR has special behaviors that make it less vulnerable to fishing pressure (e.g., species is widely dispersed during spawning).

The management unit for summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) is the U.S. waters in the western Atlantic Ocean from the southern border of North Carolina northward to the U.S.- Canadian border. A summer flounder genetics study revealed no population subdivision at Cape Hatteras (Jones and Quattro 1999), consistent with the definition of the management unit.


ANALYSIS

No related analysis

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

NOT YET SCORED

Managers Compliance:

NOT YET SCORED

Fishers Compliance:

NOT YET SCORED

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

NOT YET SCORED

Future Health:

NOT YET SCORED


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

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RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1. This profile is not currently at the top of our priority list for development, and we can’t at this time provide an accurate prediction of when it will be developed. To speed up an evaluation of the sustainability status of non-prioritized fisheries we have initiated a program whereby industry can directly contract SFP-approved analysts to develop a FishSource profile on a fishery. More information on this External Contributor Program is available at http://www.sustainablefish.org/fisheries-information.


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Northwest Atlantic United States United States Bottom trawls
Hooks and lines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

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Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. This profile is not currently at the top of our priority list for development, and we can’t at this time provide an accurate prediction of when it will be developed. To speed up an evaluation of the sustainability status of non-prioritized fisheries we have initiated a program whereby industry can directly contract SFP-approved analysts to develop a FishSource profile on a fishery. More information on this External Contributor Program is available at http://www.sustainablefish.org/fisheries-information.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 31 August 2016

An updated population assessment of Summer Flounder using data through 2008 showed that Summer Flounder were not overfished and overfishing was not occurring. The mortality associated with fishing was below the target reference point and the spawning stock biomass (SSB) was about 77% of the target reference point (NMFS 2008). The SSB maximum sustainable yield target reference point is 60,074 mt (NMFS 2008). The year classes from 1982 and 1983 are the largest in the assessment and the year class from 1988 was the smallest, while the 2008 year class was estimated to be the largest to recruit to the stock since 1986 (NMFS 2008).

The assessment update published in October 2011, indicated that the summer flounder stock was not overfished or subject to overfishing in 2010 (NMFS 2011; Terceiro 2011), relative to the reference points established in the SAW 47 assessment. The October stock assessment update indicated that fishing mortality (F) for 2010 was estimated to be 0.216, below the reference point FMSY = 0.310. Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) was estimated to be 132.72 million lb, above SSBMSY = 132.40 million lb. Thus, the stock is rebuilt and no longer subject to the formal rebuilding program in place since 2000.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 31 August 2016

The summer flounder stock was not overfished and overfishing was not occurring in 2010 relative to the biological reference points established in the 2008 SAW 47 assessment (NMFS 2011; Terceiro 2011). The fishing mortality rate was estimated to be 0.216 in 2010, below the threshold fishing mortality reference point = FMSY = F35% = 0.310. SSB was estimated to be 60,238 mt (132.802 million lbs) in 2010, just above the biomass target reference point = SSBMSY = SSB35% = 60,074 mt (132.440 million lbs). Therefore, the summer flounder stock is considered to have reached the biomass target in 2010 (NMFS 2011; Terceiro 2011).

Trends

Last updated on 31 Aug 2016

The population is declining over a generational time scale (as indicated by biomass estimates or standardized CPUE). Trends from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) spring trawl surveys indicated that the total population biomass last peaked from 1976 to 1977 (NMFS 2008). Estimates were high in 2007 but dropped by half in 2008 (NMFS 2008).

Abundances from the NEFSC autumn trawl surveys were the highest in 1995 (NMFS 2008). Abundances from the NEFSC winter trawl survey have fluctuated over the years and in recent years (2004-2007) have been lower (NMFS 2008). Abundance indices from 2004 to 2007 surveys from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection have been low compared to earlier years (NMFS 2008). The New Jersey Bureau of Marine Fisheries has estimated that most year classes have been around or below average since 1998 and the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife and Maryland Department of Natural Resources abundance indices have varied over the years (NMFS 2008). Recruitment indices from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science surveys have been below average since 1990 (NMFS 2008). 

  • Age, size or sex distribution is skewed relative to the natural condition (e.g., truncated size/age structure or anomalous sex distribution).
  • P dentatus is listed as "overfished", as "depleted", "endangered", or "threatened" by recognized national or international bodies.
  • Current levels of abundance are likely to jeopardize the availability of food for other species or cause substantial change in the structure of the associated food web.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 31 August 2016

Management measures are in place over a major portion over the species' range but implementation has not met conservation goals. Also, management measures are in place but not long enough to determine if they are likely to achieve conservation and sustainability goals.

Summer Flounder fisheries are managed jointly by the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (MAFMC) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). The original Fishery Management Plans were put into place by the ASMFC and MAFMC in 1982 and 1988 respectively.

Many amendments and adjustments have been made to these plans over the years. Quotas, limited entry, minimum size limits, and gear restrictions are in place for the commercial fisheries. Specific management measures include: a 14” minimum size, 5.5 diamond and 6” square minimum mesh size and threshold, state quotas, prohibition on the transfer of Summer Flounder between vessels at sea, and individual states must provide a detailed description of the management measures they will use each year.

Although management efforts are in place, the species is currently rebuilding from overfishing (NMFS 2008).

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 31 Aug 2016

The population was under a rebuilding program since 2000, based on the results of previous assessments, and currently abundance or biomass is considered high, >125% of BMSY or similar proxy (NMFS 2011).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 31 August 2016

Successful recovery program was implemented but on other hand no effective efforts are being made to minimize damage from existing gear types and also, the new or modified gears are increasing habitat damage (e.g., fitting trawls with roller rigs or rockhopping gear; more robust gear for deep-sea fisheries).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 31 August 2016

Bycatch in this fishery is moderate (10-99% of targeted landings) and does not regularly include "threatened, endangered or protected species". There is a moderate level of bycatch associated with the Summer Flounder fishery. From 2000 to 2004 an estimated 192 sea turtles were taken in this fishery and of these only 5 were taken by vessels equipped with turtle excluder devices (Murray 2008). The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic bottom trawl fisheries are considered Category II (annual mortality and serious injury of a stock in a given fishery is greater than 1 percent and less than 50 percent of the potential biological removal) for marine mammal interactions (NOAA 2009).

Other Species

Last updated on 31 August 2016

The summer flounder fishery is a mixed fishery, where squid, Atlantic mackerel, silver hake, skates, and other species are also harvested.

Bycatch in this fishery is moderate (10-99% of targeted landings) and does not regularly include "threatened, endangered or protected species". There is a moderate level of bycatch associated with the Summer Flounder fishery. From 2000 to 2004 an estimated 192 sea turtles were taken in this fishery and of these only 5 were taken by vessels equipped with turtle excluder devices (Murray 2008). The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic bottom trawl fisheries are considered Category II (annual mortality and serious injury of a stock in a given fishery is greater than 1 percent and less than 50 percent of the potential biological removal) for marine mammal interactions (NOAA 2009).

There is bycatch of targeted (e.g., undersize individuals) or non-targeted species in this fishery and measures (e.g., gear modifications) have been implemented that have been shown to reduce bycatch over a large portion of the species range. In other cases, no measures are needed because fishery is highly selective (e.g., harpoon; spear). Discards of summer flounder in both directed fisheries and mixed-species fisheries are minimized principally through minimum mesh size restrictions and bycatch allowances. Prior to June 1998, minimum mesh size restrictions applied only to the codend portion of the net. But since that time, those restrictions have applied to the entire net (MAFMC 1998). The majority of discards are 'regulatory' (i.e. result from complying with regulations, such as minimum fish size limits, and quota/trip limits).

Bycatch of Summer Flounder in the New England groundfish fishery may be reduced due to the use of large mesh sizes (ASMFC 2003). However, the potential to catch Summer Flounder “exists as long as location fished and methods used are capable of catching Summer Flounder” (ASMFC 2003). Scallop dredge (MAFMC 1998) and shrimp trawl (VA Tech 1996) gear also take summer flounder incidental to their respective target species. Sea scallop dredging and trawl fisheries account for the largest amount of Summer Flounder discards (ASMFC 2003). From 1992 to 2000 Summer Flounder discards in trawls were around 12 % (ASMFC 2003).

HABITAT

Last updated on 31 August 2016

The fishing method causes great damage to physical and biogenic habitats (e.g., cyanide; blasting; bottom trawling; dredging).

The commercial fishery primarily uses otter trawls targeting mixed-species aggregations, but pound nets and gill nets are also used in the estuarine waters of Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina (ASMFC 2002). Summer Flounder are targeted in inshore waters during the summer and offshore during the winter (ASMFC 2003). The summer trawl fishery fishes within the 100-foot contour while the winter trawl fishery fishes in waters 90 to 300 ft deep and follows migrating Summer Flounder to 600 ft. depths (ASMFC 2003). Trawl nets, and their attachments, can modify benthic habitats and affect benthic fauna, diversity and community structure by crushing, burying and exposing marine organisms. Otter trawls also disturb and resuspend sediment, and release nutrients into the water column, increasing the occurrence of algal blooms and decreasing sea grass production (SAFMC 2004). Otter trawling frequently occurs in shallow coastal areas, which serve as nursery grounds for commercially important fish species, and destroys the structural diversity critical for a large array of marine life.

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 31 Aug 2016

Critical habitat areas (e.g., spawning areas) for this species are not protected by management using time/area closures, marine reserves, etc. No efforts are being made to minimize damage from existing gear types. New or modified gear is increasing habitat damage (e.g., fitting trawls with roller rigs or rockhopping gear; more robust gear for deep-sea fisheries).

FishSource Scores

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STOCK HEALTH:

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No related analysis

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits
  1. NMFS. 2011. 2012 Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Specifications Environmental Assessment. NMFS Gloucester MA USAhttp://www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/regs/frdoc/11/11SFSBSB2012SpecsEA.pdf

  2. Terceiro, M. 2002. The summer flounder chronicles: Science, politics, and litigation, 1975–2000 Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries Volume 11, Number 2, 125-168http://www.springerlink.com/content/v4403323200689kw/

  3. Terceiro, M. 2011. Stock Assessment of Summer Flounder for 2011. NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Northeast Fisheries Science Center, 166 Water St., Woods Hole, MA. USA http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd1120/crd1120.pdf

  4. ASMFC, 2008. Species Profile: Summer Flounder Positive Assessment Results Yield Higher Quotas. ASMFC Fisheries Focus, Vol. 17, Issue 7. http://www.asmfc.org/speciesDocuments/sfScupBSB/summerflounder/sFlounderProfile.pdf

  5. Jones WJ, Quattro JM. 1999. Genetic structure of summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) populations north and south of Cape Hatteras. Mar Bio 133: 129-135.

  6. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). 1999. Essential Fish Habitat source document: summer flounder, Paralichthys dentatus, life history and habitat characteristics. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NE-151. 98 p.

  7. Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC). 1998. Amendment 12 to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan. October.

  8. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). 1999b. Our Living Oceans: Report on the Status of U.S. Living Marine Resources, 1999. NOAA Tech Memo NMFS-F/SPO-41. U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

  9. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). 2008. 47th Northeast regional Stock Assessment Workshop (47th SAW) assessment summary report. Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document 08-11. Online: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd0812/

  10. Murray, K. T. 2008. Estimated average annual bycatch of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in US Mid-Atlantic bottom otter trawl gear, 1996-2004 (second edition). National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center. 42 p. Online: http://www.nefsc. noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd0820/crd0820.pdf

  11. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 2009. List of Fisheries for 2010. Federal Register Vol. 74 No 111. 50 CFR Part 229. 28 p. Online: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/ pdfs/fr/fr74-27739.pdf

  12. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). 2003. Proceedings of the summer flounder bycatch and regulatory discards workshop. Special Report No. 78 of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 98 p.

  13. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). 2002 (online). Summer Flounder. Available at http://www.asmfc.org/Programs/Fish%20Mgnt/Sflounder1.html.

  14. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC). 2004. Final Amendment 6 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the South Atlantic Region. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Charleston, SC. 305 p.

References

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    Summer flounder - Northwest Atlantic

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