North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries officials announced Tuesday this year’s commercial estuarine flounder season dates.
The commercial quotas will be the same as last year, as no overages to the commercial total allowable catch occurred in 2022.
The harvest period for each flounder management area and gear category will close to maintain harvest within the landings sub-allocation when the allowable landings are approached. The division will announce the closings by proclamation as necessary.
Pound net management areas
All pound net management areas will open with initial trip limits. Trip limits will be decreased during the season based on the amount of quota available.
The northern pound net management area, or waters north of Pamlico Sound, will open Sept. 15. Opening trip limit is 1,000 pounds.
The central pound net management area, or the Pamlico Sound and its tributaries, will open Oct. 1. Opening trip limit is 2,000 pounds.
Southern pound net management area, or waters from Core Sound to the South Carolina border, also opens Oct. 1. Opening trip limit is 500 pounds.
Mobile gear management areas
Split into northern and southern, the mobile gear management areas are all gears other than pound nets used to harvest southern flounder.
The northern management area is waters south of the Virginia line to the incidental take permit BD boundary line. The southern area is waters from the incidental take permit BD boundary line to the South Carolina line.
All mobile gears will open to harvest Oct. 3. Harvest of fish from gill nets will only be allowed Tuesday through Thursday each week until the management area closes. Use of gigs and all other gears will be allowed seven days a week.
The season opening dates are set annually to keep the fishery within the commercial quota approved by the Marine Fisheries Commission in the Southern Flounder Amendment.
The plan also specifies any overage to the commercial total allowable catch requires a pound-for-pound payback subtracted from the following year’s allowable harvest.