The federal Department of Commerce says its secretary was right to reverse a decision about flounder fishing regulations that was made by an interstate commission.

The regulatory Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced last month it had found New Jersey out of compliance with management of the fishery. But Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross disagreed, and did not sign off on a ruling that could’ve forced a local moratorium on flounder fishing.

Ross’ move attracted criticism from the commission and conservationists who say the decision overrides sustainable fishing rules on the East Coast. But a spokesman for the commerce department says on Tuesday that Ross doesn’t think a fishing moratorium is warranted.

The spokesman says Ross feels alternative measures implemented by New Jersey are adequate to protect the fish’s population.

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