This year’s recreational flounder season will open at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 1 and close at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 30.
Harvest of flounder with a recreational commercial gear license will be prohibited.
There are two provisions for both the recreational hook-and-line and gig fisheries. There is a one fish per person, per day creel limit, and the flounder must be at least 15 inches total in length from the tip of the snout to the tip of the compressed tail, state Division of Marine Fisheries officials said Tuesday.
The season and possession limits are in place to keep the fishery within the recreational quota approved in the North Carolina Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 3.
Harvest restrictions are required because the 2019 South Atlantic Southern Flounder Stock Assessment found that southern flounder is overfished and overfishing is occurring throughout the region, which is North Carolina through the eastern coast of Florida. Overfished means the population is too small. Overfishing means the removal rate is too high.
Amendment 3 includes an adaptive management framework with accountability measures to implement paybacks if the allowable catch is exceeded. Overages from the 2022 recreational season could impact the 2023 recreational season.
Discard mortality will be accounted for in the estimates of total allowable catch. The Division discourages anglers from targeting flounder for catch-and-release after they have caught their one-fish limit or when the season is closed.
For more information, see the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Southern Flounder Amendment 3 Information Page.