Annual review shows trouble for some species
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has released its annual Stock Overview of state managed marine fisheries species.
The 2020 North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Stock Overview reviews available information, such as long-term trends in catch, biological data and management, through 2019 to determine the overall condition of North Carolina’s state-managed species. It also provides links to information on federally managed and interstate-managed species important to North Carolina.
Highlights of this year’s stock overview for state managed species include:
• Estuarine Striped Bass – Amendment 2 to the N. C. Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan is being jointly developed with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, and results from a peer-reviewed benchmark stock assessment utilizing data through 2017 are expected in 2020.
• Shrimp – Additional gear restrictions were implemented in 2019 as part of the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Amendment 1 to reduce bycatch in all shrimp trawls (except skimmer trawls) in the Pamlico Sound and portions of the Pamlico, Bay and Neuse rivers. Development of Amendment 2 is underway.
• Southern Flounder – The 2019 stock assessment of southern flounder in the south Atlantic indicated that the stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring. Amendment 2 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan was approved in August 2019 resulting in commercial and recreational season closures, as well as other management measures, to reduce harvest and end overfishing. Development of Amendment 3 is underway.
• Spotted Seatrout – Recreational and commercial landings in 2019 increased compared to the previous years, but there is no indication that the stock is at risk. The 2014 stock assessment indicated that the spotted seatrout stock in North Carolina and Virginia was not overfished and that overfishing was not occurring in the terminal year (2012). A benchmark stock assessment for spotted seatrout is underway in 2020 coinciding with the scheduled fishery management plan review, and it will incorporate data through 2019.
• Blue Crab – Results of the 2018 benchmark stock assessment indicate the blue crab stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring. The assessment passed peer review and the model was accepted for use in management. Amendment 3 to the Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan was approved in February 2020, and management measures were implemented to address the overfished status and end overfishing.
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