The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries upgraded the status of a handful of popular saltwater species in its annual stock status report released last week.
The report upgraded to “viable” the status of spotted seatrout, king mackerel, black drum and kingfish. It upgraded gag grouper from “concern” to “recovering.” A popular baitfish, menhaden, was upgraded from concern to viable. The viable status means the stock is not overfished and is not experiencing overfishing.
The classifications serve as a barometer of the overall health of the state’s fishery resources, and they are used to prioritize development of state fishery management plans.
Black sea bass north of Hatteras were moved from “recovering” to “concern” due to the lake of a recent approved stock assessment and low landings in North Carolina waters.
Southern flounder was moved from depleted to concern due to the lake or a recent approved stock assessment. Concerns exist about being able to sustain current harvest levels because of a decline in abundance of adult and juvenile fish.
The complete 2015 Stock Status Report can be found on the division’s website at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/stock-status-reports.