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Courtesy of Lou Rodia, The Philadelphia Daily News:

Fluke: 8 fish @ 16.5 inch minimum size, May 03 thru October 13, 2003.

Weakfish: 8 fish @ 13 inch minimum size, open all year.

Blackfish: 4 fish @ 14 inch minimum size, January 01 thru May 31. 1 fish @ 14 inch minimum size, Jume 01 thru November 14. 7 fish @ 14 inch minimum size, November 15 thru December 31, 2003.

Sea Bass: 25 fish @ 12 inch minimum size, January 01 to September 01, closed September 02 thru September 15, 25 fish @ 12 inch minimum size, September 16 thru December 31, 2003.

Porgy: 50 fish @ 10 inch minimum size, July 13 thru December 31, 2003.

Winter Flounder: no possession limit, 11 inch minimum size, March 01 thru May 31, 2003.

Lou did not report any changes for striped bass and bluefish. NJ Marine has not updated the regulations on their home page.

So what does it all mean? I welcome the return of the extended season for fluke. I don't see the reason for dropping the possession and minimum size for weakfish (who wants to keep a 13 inch weakie, anyway?) I was in favor of the 5 fish @ 17 inches (fewer but larger fish.) I don't mind the cut in blackfish possession if it does keep the breeding population healthy, but tog are probably the number one "poached" species on the Atlantic Coast. I think the answer lies in enforcement. I see they've given sea bass two weeks to make a run for offshore wrecks, or do they spawn in the Fall? Porgy fisherman will be glad to see they don't have to quit fishing in the middle of the Fall run, but its going to be tough to fill that limit with fish 10 inches or better, and I'm wondering how many "shorts" will end up in coolers. Again, enforcement may be a better tool.

In any event, I can start making out my calendar for the 2003 season....
 
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