Summer Flounder

The summer flounder -- commonly known as fluke -- is a prized recreational and commercial catch, popular because of its delicate, light flavor and lean, white, firm fillets. Despite low populations for decades and help managing the stock throughout the 1980’s, it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that fluke started to respond to fishery management action. Finally finding a balance for recreational and commercial fishermen, the summer flounder population started coming back and was declared rebuilt to target levels in 2010. The fishing quota for this species is strategically divided between commercial and recreational anglers, being one of the most popular recreational fisheries on the Atlantic coast.

Fluke are able to change their coloring to match their surroundings when burrowing in the sandy or muddy ocean floor. They are a left-eyed flatfish, meaning that their right eye migrates to the left side of their head as they mature, with both of their eyes ending up on the same side.

Migratory patterns for fluke throughout the Atlantic are determined by water temperature. In the winter, they are offshore along the continental shelf, while in the warmer summer months, they come inshore along the coast in shallow waters and estuaries. These easily foreseeable migratory patterns are one of the reasons that the fluke population was able to be rebuilt. Because of the knowledge we have of the species and where they are at certain times, it is easy to predict where they are, allowing them to spawn and grow into juveniles without fishing pressure, as well as determine catch seasons for them and for specific areas. Availability for this item depends on state season openings and closures, though at this time of year our summer flounder supply is coming from Narraganset, RI. Fried, broiled, sautéed, or even eaten raw, this fish is perfect for a variety of culinary applications.

April 08, 2015 by Sonja Panacek