Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass

Summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass are among the most popular commercial and recreational fisheries in the Mid-Atlantic region. Although the summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries were subject to overfishing in the past, they have all been rebuilt to sustainable levels. Scup and black sea bass were declared rebuilt in 2009, and summer flounder was declared rebuilt in 2012. Follow the links below for more detailed information about the biology, landings, management, and status of each species.

The Council has managed the three species under a single fishery management plan (FMP) since 1996 when black sea bass and scup were incorporated into the summer flounder FMP. The management unit for summer flounder extends from the U.S.-Canadian border to the southern border of North Carolina, while the management units for scup and black sea bass extend from the U.S.- Canadian border to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. All three species migrate annually from inshore waters in the warmer months to offshore waters in the colder months. The exact timing of this migration varies with latitude.

Because of their presence in, and movement between, state waters (0-3 miles) and federal waters (3-200 miles), the Council manages summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass cooperatively with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The two management entities work in conjunction with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) as the federal implementation and enforcement entity.

The Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass FMP uses output controls (catch and landings limits) as the primary management tool, with landings divided between the commercial and recreational fisheries. The FMP also includes minimum fish sizes, bag limits, seasons, gear restrictions, permit requirements, and other provisions to prevent overfishing and ensure sustainability of the fisheries. Recreational bag/size limits and seasons are determined on a state-by-state basis using conservation equivalency. The commercial quota is divided into state-by-state quotas based on historical landings.

Actions Under Development

Fishery Management Plan and Amendments

Click here for more information, including years and objectives of each of the FMPs and amendments listed below.

Fishery Performance Reports

Fishery Information Documents