Friday, May 25, 2018

Summer Flounder Season

Paralichthys dentatus, summer flounder or fluke
Memorial Day weekend might be the unofficial start of summer at the Jersey shore, but another sign of Jersey summer is that the summer flounder season opened today, Friday, May 25.

The size and possession limits are as follows:
Island Beach State Park (shore fishing): 2 fish at 16”
Delaware Bay and Tributaries: 3 fish at 17”
All other marine waters: 3 fish at 18”

The summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) is a marine flatfish that is found in the Atlantic Ocean off the East coast of the United States and Canada. It is especially abundant in waters from North Carolina to Massachusetts.

The summer flounder is also called a fluke. It is a member of the large-tooth flounder family Paralichthyidae. There are typically 5 to 14 ocellated (eye-like) spots on the body.

Like most members of the left-eye flounders, they can change the color and pattern of their dark side to match the surrounding bottom, and are also capable of rapidly burrowing into muddy or sandy bottoms.

Watch out - their teeth are quite sharp and well developed on both upper and lower jaws.

The average summer flounder reaches sexual maturity at 2 years and weighs 1 to 3 pounds, typically 15 to 20 inches in length, though they may grow as large as 26 pounds and live up to 20 years with females making up the largest and oldest specimens.

Adults are highly predatory and considered mostly piscivorous (carnivorous animal that eats primarily fish) and often stays buried with only their head exposed to ambush prey which includes sand lance, menhaden, atlantic silverside, mummichog killifish, small bluefish, porgies, squid, shrimp, and crabs.

They are primarily a bottom fish. They are rapid swimmers over short distances and so they can become very aggressive, feeding actively at mid-depths, and even chasing prey to the surface.

Remember you need to go online for your NJ Salt Water Registration - but it is FREE - before you throw that bait into the water. See the "Attention Anglers" summary sheet for more information at

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Horseshoe Crab and Full Moons

Each year, around the new and full moons of May and June, the Bureau of Marine Fisheries conducts a horseshoe crab survey at Fortescue Beach and Gandy's Beach on Delaware Bay. This year, the Full Moons are May 29 and June 28.

This survey involves heading out to the beach late at night and counting thousands and thousands of horseshoe crabs into the wee hours of the morning with a head lamp.

A tagged female (left) and male (right) horseshoe crab. Females are usually larger.

"A Night On the Horseshoe Crab Survey" is one of the Day In the Life Of a Marine Fisheries Hourly series on the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife website. 

Other articles in this series:

Friday, May 18, 2018

27th Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament May 20

The 27th Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament at Island Beach State Park is this Sunday, May 20.  Tournament hours are 6:30am-1:00pm. Registration opens at 5:00am for those not pre-registered.

The individual who catches the overall largest fish wins the "Governor's Award," and has his/her name engraved on the Governor's Cup, which is permanently displayed at the park. There is also a High School Team category! Fishing equipment is awarded to winners who catch the largest fish in each species category.

More information:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Clean Waters

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 was the first major U.S. law to address water pollution. Growing public awareness and concern for controlling water pollution led to sweeping amendments in 1972. As amended in 1972, the law became commonly known as the Clean Water Act (CWA).

Clean Water Action is one group that has worked to win strong health and environmental protections. They organize strong grassroots groups and coalitions, and campaigns to elect environmental candidates and to solve environmental and community problems.

Some of those campaignsTake action to protect drinking water and clean up polluted waterways:

  • Get health-harming toxics out of everyday products
  • Protect our water from dirty energy threats - drilling and fracking for oil and gas, and power plant pollution
  • Build a future of clean water and clean energy
  • Keep our clean water laws strong and effective to protect water and health.

In New Jersey, you can reach Clean Water Action at:
198 Brighton Avenue
Long Branch, New Jersey, 07740
p: 732.963.9714
559 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, New Jersey, 07042
p: 973.744.3005

A group protecting the water offshore is Clean Ocean Action which helps to identify the sources of pollution and attack each source by using research, public education, and citizen action to convince our public officials to enact and enforce measures which will clean up and protect our ocean.

Clean Ocean Action (COA) is a broad-based coalition of 125 active boating, business, community, conservation, diving, environmental, fishing, religious, service, student, surfing, and women's groups.

Their campaigns include:

  • Improve programs and laws that protect public health at swimming beaches.
  • Reduce plastics and litter that pollute waterways, spoil beautiful beaches, and harm or kill marine life including turtles, whales, seals, birds, and fish.
  • Protect coasts from oil and gas drilling in the ocean, including Maine to Florida.
  • Establish the nation’s first Clean Ocean Zone to start a national chain reaction for all coasts.
  • Reduce toxins in waterways to ensure fish and shellfish are free of pollution and safe to eat.
  • Educate and motivate citizens from the small to the tall.

Monday, May 14, 2018

National Drinking Water Week

As part of national Drinking Water Week, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is working to educate residents about how lead enters drinking water and the steps they can take to reduce any risk to their families.

“Clean and safe drinking water is important to all of us,” DEP Acting Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “As we mark national Drinking Water Week, it’s important for families to take a little time to become better informed about how to find out if lead is in their water and what they can do about it.”

Drinking Water Week is held each May to draw attention to the importance of drinking water and the efforts that government and system operators take to ensure safe and reliable supplies. Drinking Water Week is sponsored by the American Water Works Association and its members.

In New Jersey, the DEP is responsible for enforcing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule. The DEP evaluates results of testing done by water systems at properties most likely to contain lead. If more than 10 percent of the result are above 15 parts per billion, the water system will conduct more frequent sampling and perform corrective actions.

In almost all cases, minute particles of lead enter drinking water as the result of leaching from customers’ service lines, internal plumbing, lead-based solder, and certain fixtures. Lead is rarely found in the source of water delivered by water systems.

While lead is a concern in urban areas with older houses and buildings, it can also be a concern in other areas. According to the EPA, lead is more likely to be present in structures built prior to 1986.

Many factors affect the amount of lead that leaches into the water, including lead content of pipes, fixtures, and solder, the length of time that water remains standing in the plumbing; water temperature; pH; and water hardness.

Lead presents health concerns for people of all ages, but particularly pregnant women, infants and young children. If consumers live in homes where lead is in contact with drinking water, they may be at risk of exposure.

A study from the American Water Works Association suggests that lead service lines (lines that connect a system’s water mains to properties the system serves) may be present in 6 million to 10 million homes nationwide.

Water systems can adjust water chemistry to reduce leaching of lead into water. Property owners can also take steps to reduce potential exposure to lead.

To determine if lead is present in pipes or plumbing, homeowners or tenants can consult with a licensed plumber or their public water supplier. If you are unsure who your supplier is, click here. If lead components are found, it is recommended that property owners explore options for replacing them.

Until lead service lines or plumbing can be replaced, the following steps can be taken to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water:

  • Run your water to flush out lead. If a faucet hasn’t been used for several hours, run the water for 15 to 30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking.  This flushes any lead particles in water from the pipes.
  • Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula.  Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more readily in hot water. 
  • Test the water. Contact your water system or a certified drinking water laboratory to have your home drinking water tested for lead. (Please note that the homeowner may be responsible for any costs).
  • Do not boil water to remove lead.  Boiling water will not remove lead from the water.
  • Use alternate sources or treatment of water.  Consider using bottled water for drinking and cooking, or a water filter designed to remove lead.  Read the package to be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead or contact NSF International at 800-NSF-8010 or for information on performance standards for water filters.  Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer’s standards to ensure water quality.
  • Get your child tested.  Contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how to get your child tested for lead if you are concerned about lead exposure.
  • Ask your school or child care about their lead sampling results. Any drinking water outlet (i.e. fountain or sink) with a result over the action level of 15 ppb should be taken out of service immediately. Click here for more information on school testing. 

Finding information about local water is simple. As required by federal law, water suppliers must provide customers with an annual water quality report, also called a Consumer Confidence Report. This report identifies the quality of drinking water and lists sampling results as well as drinking water standards. Information on each community’s local source or sources for drinking water is also provided in the Consumer Confidence Report.

Although customers are directly notified of any violations by their water system, the DEP’s  Drinking Water Watch website provides current online access to drinking water data, including water testing results and any violations.

More information about lead in drinking water at: