NC says no flounder season for 2024

James Brooks caught this North Carolina flounder last year.

Recreational flounder season is a no-go for 2024

The NC Marine Fisheries Commission halted any plans for a recreational flounder season for 2024. The Commission states the reason for the closure is to “preserve the southern flounder resource.”

North Carolina anglers were hoping for a fall season, much like the state held for the past two years. But the MFC has had a quota in place, thanks to Amendment 3 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan, and that quota was exceeded in each of the past two years.

Amendment 3 calls for a pound-for-pound payback when the quota is exceeded. When the MFC met on May 23, they subtracted the recreational overage from 2023, and determined the recreational quota remaining for 2024 was not large enough to allow for a season this year.

“The leftover quota will be used to account for the anticipated dead discards that will occur due to incidental catch and release,” MFC’s press release stated.

They discussed holding a special meeting to come up with alternatives to not holding a 2024 recreational season, but in the end, they decided not to hold such a meeting, and canceled plans for a season this year.

What about 2025?

At 70-years-old, Susan Schambach caught her first flounder in 2023 while fishing in Wilmington, NC.

What does this mean moving forward? According to their data, the state should be able to hold a recreational season in 2025, although that decision has not been made yet, and likely won’t be made until next spring.

“Following Amendment 3 and not opening the 2024 recreational flounder season, combined with the increased quota in 2025, should allow enough quota for a recreational season next year,” they said.

North Carolina’s commercial flounder season for 2024 has not been set as of the date of this article. MFC states they are still finalizing data from the 2023 commercial season to see if any overages are in play. If they are, payback will be applied before any season dates are announced.

South Carolina anglers are still allowed to catch and keep flounder year-round, with a 5-fish daily limit (not to exceed 10 per boat) and a 16-inch total length minimum. Gigging for flounder also remains legal in South Carolina, with the same limits for hook-and-line anglers.

About Brian Cope 2800 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@carolinasportsman.com.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply