Details on the 2022 blue crab harvest, striped bass management and other updates for 2022 can be found in the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries’ fishery management plan review released Wednesday.
The annual review summarizes available information, such as long-term trends in catch, biological data and management, through 2022 for state-managed species, and links to information on federally-managed and interstate-managed species important to North Carolina, officials said.
Officials noted in the review that blue crab landings have remained below average since 2020, prompting this year a stock assessment update. The Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan Amendment 3, approved in February 2020, implemented management measures to address the overfished and overfishing status of the stock based on results from the peer-reviewed 2018 benchmark stock assessment. Amendment 3 includes adaptive management to address results of the stock assessment update.
There was a limited bay scallop season in specific regions in 2021 and 2022 after numerous years of low abundance.
A spotted seatrout stock assessment was completed in 2022 in Virginia and North Carolina waters. The division found that the stock is not overfished, with spawning stock biomass well above target levels. “However, overfishing is occurring, meaning too many fish are being removed annually to be sustainable. A formal review of the plan is currently underway and will address the overfishing status of the stock,” officials said.
The striped mullet stock assessment, completed in 2022, indicates the stock was overfished with overfishing occurring. Because of this, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality secretary determined it was in the interest of the long-term viability of the fishery to implement temporary management to address overfishing while the plan is under review.
The Striped Mullet Fishery Management Plan’s Supplement A to Amendment 2 was approved and requires regional season closures in coastal fishing waters, including the Atlantic Ocean. These are scheduled for Nov. 7 to Dec. 31 in waters north of the N.C. 58 bridge that connects Emerald Isle to Cape Carteret and Nov. 10 to Dec. 31 in waters south.
The N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2, developed with N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, was approved in November 2022, and prescribes management changes to end overfishing and address the overfished status determined from the 2022 stock assessment update results.
The N.C. Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 was approved in February 2022. The division continues to implement management focused on reducing bycatch of nontarget species and minimizing ecosystem impacts.
The N.C. Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 3, approved in May 2022 and implemented that fishing season, provides management strategies to address the overfished and overfishing status for the portion of the southeast southern flounder stock that occurs in North Carolina.
For more information, contact Lee Paramore at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 252-473-5734.