- There are three stocks of winter flounder in U.S. waters, the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic stocks.
- NOAA Fisheries and the New England Fishery Management Council manage the fishery in federal waters. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission coordinates management of winter flounder in state waters (0 to 3 miles offshore).
- Winter flounder, along with other groundfish in New England waters, are managed under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, which includes:
- Permitting requirements for commercial vessels.
- Separate management measures for recreational vessels.
- Time/Area Closures to protect spawning fish and habitat.
- Minimum fish sizes to prevent harvest of juvenile fish.
- Annual catch limits, based on best available science.
- An optional sector (catch share) program can be used for winter flounder and other groundfish species. The sector program allows fishermen to form harvesting cooperatives and work together to decide when, where, and how they harvest fish.