NC Marine Fisheries approves Amendment 3 to flounder plan


Full details still not clear on N.C.’s 2022 flounder season

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission gave final approval to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 3 on May 26, 2022 during the Commission’s meeting in Morehead City.

The exact dates or number of days of the 2022 recreational flounder harvesting season have still not been set, but the season will fall sometime within Aug. 16 to Sept. 30. The season may last that entire 45 days, or it may be shorter. Division of Marine Fisheries Director Kathy Rawls said she has already scheduled meetings with staff to discuss implementing the flounder plan amendment and she plans to announce the 2022 season dates as soon as possible.

Amendment 3 also calls for a spring flounder season in which Gulf and summer flounder (but not southern flounder) will open for recreational harvest in the ocean. The number of flounder harvested during this season may impact the creel limit or duration of the following fall’s flounder season.

Amendment 3 includes the following measures:

  • Annual harvest quotas for the commercial fisheries divided by gear categories and by harvest areas.
  • Optional commercial trip limits.
  • A one-fish per person per day recreational flounder bag limit.
  • A recreational flounder season falling within an Aug. 16 to Sept. 30 window (the season may be shortened depending on available quota).
  • A March 1 to April 15 recreational Gulf and summer flounder season for hook-and-line in the ocean (landings may impact the August-September recreational flounder season).
  • Prohibited harvest of flounder with a Recreational Commercial Gear License.
  • An adaptive management framework with accountability measures to implement paybacks if the total allowable landings is exceeded.
  • Maintaining the current commercial gear requirements, including limitations on the use of large mesh gill nets outside of the commercial flounder season.

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