There are new regulations for spot and Atlantic croaker that will go into effect next month and later this year, the state Division of Marine Fisheries announced Tuesday.
The new recreational bag limit of 50 fish per person, per day for each species for spot and Atlantic croaker will take effect April 15. It will apply to fishing recreationally with hook-and-line and other gears.
Commercial spot and Atlantic croaker seasons will close in December. The commercial fishery for spot will close from Dec. 10 through April 4, and the commercial Atlantic croaker season will close Dec. 16-31.
The regulations comply with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission spot and Atlantic croaker fishery management plans. The stock status of both species is monitored by an adaptive management system known as a traffic light analysis, which uses stock indicators to track relative abundance compared to a set of reference years, according to the division.
The latest traffic light analyses for both spot and Atlantic croaker indicate a moderate level of concern. This requires the 50-fish bag limit for the recreational fishery and a 1% reduction in commercial landings from the 10-year average for each state from New Jersey to Florida that has substantial spot and Atlantic croaker landings and does not already have regulations in place.
These management measures will remain in effect for at least two years for spot and at least three years for Atlantic croaker. Future traffic light analyses for each species will determine what regulations will be required next.
For questions, contact Chris Batsavage at 252-241-2995 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov.