The latest on North Carolina’s flounder regulations

flounder

MFC expected to pass Amendment 3 of flounder plan on May 26

So what’s the latest on North Carolina’s recreational flounder fishing season? The NCMFC is meeting May 25-26 to discuss and give final approval to Amendment 3 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan. They’ll also be discussing the Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan.

What can anglers expect to happen at the meeting, and when can we expect flounder season to open? The following press release from CCA North Carolina digs into the details.

This is from CCA NC

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will meet in-person May 25-26 at the Beaufort Hotel, 2440 Lennoxville Road, Beaufort, N.C. The meeting will also be livestreamed on YouTube. The meeting will begin with a public comment period at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, followed by the business meeting starting at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 26.

The Commission will hold in-person public comment sessions at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 and near the beginning of the meeting on Thursday, May 26. Public comment will not be taken through web conference.

Two primary topics will require action by the Commission – Final approval of Amendment 3 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan, and Selection of preferred management options for Amendment 2 to the Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan.

1 flounder per day

First, looking at the final vote on the restrictions outlined in Amendment 3 to the Southern Flounder Fisheries Management Plan (FMP). We fully expect a rubber stamp vote to approve each of these, especially with the loss of Pete Kornegay from the Commission.  So, for the next three years, at least, we can expect the following:

–For 2022, a season window from Aug. 16 – Sept. 30 in which one flounder per person, per day can be harvested until the 160,000 lb quota is reached.  Minimum length remains at 15″.  Since NC does not distinguish between individual flounder species, any summer or gulf flounder caught will count towards this quota.  This is the only time any flounder may be harvested from any NC waters.

–For 2023, a spring season from March 1 – April 15 COULD be opened IF recreational anglers do not exceed the quota and do not have paybacks that will shorten the season.  Any flounder caught during this season will be applied to the yearly total and could shorten the fall season.

–For 2023, and beyond, the flounder season will be determined after any quota overages from the previous year are subtracted.  Included in the overage determination will be estimates of dead discards, which is currently 9% of all releases.  Between dead discards and quota overages, it is possible (some would say likely) that recreational anglers will be completely shut out of harvesting flounder in subsequent seasons.

The following information pertains to in-person public comment:

  • Those who wish to speak may sign up at the hotel beginning at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 25.
  • To accommodate as many speakers as possible, the chair will limit each speaker to 3 minutes.
  • Those making comments will be asked to speak only once, either Wednesday night or Thursday morning, but not during both public comment periods.
  • Those who wish to submit handouts to the commission during a public comment period should bring at least 12 copies to the meeting.

The public may also submit written comments via the following methods:

  • An online form accessible through the Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting webpage.
  • Mail to May 2022 Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557.
  • Dropped off at the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Morehead City Headquarters Office at 3441 Arendell St., Morehead City.

Written comments must be received by 4 p.m. Monday, May 23.

The YouTube link will be posted on the Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting webpage. After the meeting, a recording will be posted online.

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