There will be stricter harvest restrictions in place Jan. 1 for commercial and recreational striped bass fisheries in the Albemarle Sound Management Area.
The Albemarle Sound Management Area is designated as Albemarle Sound and all its joint and inland water tributaries, except for the Roanoke, Middle, Eastmost and Cashie rivers.
The reduced harvest is needed to end overfishing on the Albemarle-Roanoke striped bass stock, according to Division of Marine Fisheries officials.
The spring recreational harvest season will open with a one-fish-per person per day possession limit with harvest allowed seven days a week. The recreational spring fishing season will close when allowable landings are predicted to be reached or on April 30, whichever comes first.
The Division of Marine Fisheries may reduce the recreational harvest days per week to prolong the season if it predicts that harvest may exceed allowable landings prior to April 30. Any remaining allowed landings will be available for a fall season.
The commercial season will open March 3 to coincide with the American shad gill net fishery and will close when allowable landings are predicted to be reached or on March 24, whichever is first. Any remaining allowable landings will be available for a fall season to coincide with the 2021 flounder season in the Albemarle Sound.
The harvest reductions are required because the most recent stock assessment for Albemarle-Roanoke striped bass indicated the stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring. A 57% reduction in landings is necessary to end overfishing, bringing the new total allowable landings to 51,216 pounds, split evenly between the commercial and recreational sectors.
The new management measures were implemented through a Revision to Amendment 1 to the North Carolina Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan.
Contact Charlton Godwin with the Division of Marine Fisheries at 252-531-6753 or Charlton.Godwin@ncdenr.gov.