North Carolina says no to 2024 recreational flounder season


Flounder season is out for 2024

In order to preserve the southern flounder resource, the North Carolina recreational flounder season will not open for harvest in 2024. Estimates from 2023 indicate the recreational catch exceeded the quota allowed under a stock rebuilding plan that was included in Amendment 3 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan and adopted by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission.

Southern flounder is overfished and overfishing is occurring. Amendment 3 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan, adopted by the Commission in 2022, set quotas for the recreational and commercial fisheries, based on scientific data, to end overfishing and rebuild the stock. There is a pound-for-pound payback if either sector goes over its quota.

During today’s quarterly business meeting, the Marine Fisheries Commission received an update on the recreational quota available for a recreational founder season. After subtracting the recreational overage from 2023, the recreational quota remaining for 2024 is not large enough to allow for a season opening. The leftover quota will be used to account for the anticipated dead discards that will occur due to incidental catch and release. The Commission discussed holding a special meeting to consider alternatives to not holding a 2024 recreational season but ultimately did not move forward with that approach.

Recreational Sector, all values in pounds. (MRIP = recreational angler survey)

*Estimated values from prior year.

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

North Carolina’s southern flounder fisheries are managed under the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 3. For more information on the management measures, see the Southern Flounder Information Page under Hot Topics. 

1 Comment

  1. If the Summer Flounder is endangered, then I fully support a no harvest season. However, if the Summer Flounder is endangered, why has South Carolina not canceled their flounder season? It seems like either North or South Carolina is wrong, and on such a serious issue wouldn’t it be wise to collaborate? Most importantly, in the best interest of the North Carolina Southern Flounder, why are we only talking about the Recreational fishing season being closed, wouldn’t it be fair for all if all NC fishing for flounder was closed, Recreational and Commercial? It seems to me that the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission has too much commercial fishing interest, bias.

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