Because current stock conditions show that the number of older, larger fish in the striped bass population has declined in the Albemarle Sound Management Area, a new harvest slot limit of 18 to 25 inches will take effect Jan. 1 for recreational and commercial striped bass fisheries.
All striped bass measuring less than 18 inches and greater than 25 inches total length must be immediately returned to the waters where they were caught.
The Division of Marine Fisheries announced Monday the date the new size limit will be in place.
Striped bass can live to be at least 31 years old. Larger and older female striped bass can produce millions of eggs annually. By protecting striped bass greater than 25 inches, the number of older females in the stock will increase spawning stock biomass and provide resiliency to the stock, officials said.
The new size limits and additional measures are to rebuild the Albemarle-Roanoke striped bass stock and increase the abundance of larger females in the population, officials said. These measures were approved by the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission in November as part of Amendment 2 to the North Carolina Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan, available on the Division website.
The Albemarle Sound Management Area includes the Albemarle, Currituck, Roanoke, and Croatan sounds and all their tributaries, except the Roanoke, Middle, Eastmost, and Cashie rivers, where striped bass recreational regulations are set by the state Wildlife Resources Commission. For the commission’s striped bass seasons and regulations visit the website or call 919-707-0010.