The annual stock overview of state-managed marine fisheries species was released Wednesday.
Published by the Division of Marine Fisheries, the 2021 North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Stock Overview looks at available information through last year on long-term trends in catch, biological data and management to determine the overall condition of state-managed species. The division currently has 13 state-managed fishery plans.
The overview also provides links to information on federally-managed and interstate-managed species important to the state.
The division provided the following highlights of this year’s stock overview for state managed species:
- Estuarine striped bass. A 2020 peer-reviewed benchmark stock assessment using data through 2017 found that the Albemarle-Roanoke estuarine striped bass stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring. As a result, restrictions in the Albemarle Sound Management Area took effect Jan. 1.
- Shrimp. The Marine Fisheries Commission approved in February 2020 a proposed rule language to reclassify special secondary nursery areas that have not been opened to trawling in years to permanent secondary nursery areas. The commission adopted the reclassification of nine areas in February through a revision to the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan amendment 1 that went into effect in May. Development of amendment 2 is underway and focuses on further reducing bycatch of nontarget species and minimizing ecosystem impacts.
- Blue crab. The Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan amendment 3 was approved in February 2020, and management measures were put in place to address the overfished and overfishing status of the stock based on results from the peer-reviewed 2018 benchmark stock assessment. Amendment 3 also contained the framework for establishing criteria for Diamondback Terrapin Management Areas where terrapin excluder devices are required. Two DTMAs were established in May 2020 in Masonboro Sound and the lower Cape Fear River, and beginning in March 2021, all pots used in these areas are required to have an approved excluder device in each funnel from March 1 to Oct. 31.
- Southern flounder. Commercial and recreational seasons implemented last year reduced landings but did not fully meet reductions required by the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan amendment 2. Development of the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan amendment 3 is underway, which will examine more robust management strategies, such as quotas, slot limits, size limit changes, gear changes and species-specific management for the recreational fishery.
For more information, contact Lee Paramore email@example.com or 252-473-5734.