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2021 NC Flounder season


Snow
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The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has adjusted the recreational and commercial flounder seasons for 2021 to ensure a sustainable fishery. In 2019 the Division of Marine Fisheries recommended and the Marine Fisheries Commission approved, substantial harvest reductions in the flounder fishery to rebuild the southern flounder stock. These season adjustments are necessary to meet that goal.

The recreational flounder season will open Sept. 1 and close Sept. 14 in internal and ocean waters of North Carolina. The minimum size limit will remain at 15 inches total length, and the creel limit will remain at four fish per person per day during the open recreational season.

Since all species of flounder are managed under the same recreational regulations, the recreational season applies to all recreational flounder fishing.

The commercial southern flounder harvest seasons will open on the following schedule:

  • Northern Area (waters north of Pamlico Sound)  Sept. 15 to Oct. 1;
  • Central Area (Pamlico Sound and its tributaries)  Oct. 1 to Oct. 19;
  • Southern Area (waters from Core Sound to the South Carolina line) – Oct. 1 to Oct. 21.

All commercial gears that target southern flounder, such as large mesh gill nets and flounder pound nets, must be removed from the water when the season is closed (or made inoperable in the case of flounder pound nets). The catfish and shad fisheries, which use large mesh gill nets, will be allowed in areas where interactions with southern flounder are unlikely.

The flounder fishery is currently managed under Amendment 2 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan. Amendment 2 included southern flounder harvest reductions of 62% in 2019 and 72% beginning in 2020 for both the recreational and commercial fisheries. The total removals allowed in both years under these reductions were exceeded in both the commercial and recreational sectors, resulting in the seasonal adjustments.

Reductions in harvest are required because the 2019 South Atlantic Southern Flounder Stock Assessment found that southern flounder is overfished and overfishing is occurring throughout the region (North Carolina through the eastern coast of Florida). Overfished means the population is too small. Overfishing means the removal rate is too high. North Carolina is leading the rebuilding effort with the Marine Fisheries Commission adoption of Amendment 2.

The Division of Marine Fisheries is developing Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 3, which examines more robust management strategies, such as quotas, slot limits, size limit changes, gear changes, and species-specific management for the recreational fishery. Draft Amendment 3 is scheduled to be reviewed and potentially approved for public and advisory committee review in November 2021.

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For those of you that don’t know North Carolina still allows commercial gill nets. If there is a problem with small flounder numbers in our waters wouldn’t common sense point toward the gill net issue.

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12 hours ago, Snow said:

For those of you that don’t know North Carolina still allows commercial gill nets. If there is a problem with small flounder numbers in our waters wouldn’t common sense point toward the gill net issue.

Absolutely.   I’m still amazed at what gear  commercial fisherman are allowed to use, in some Instances, to catch their target species.   

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4 hours ago, HewesYourDaddy said:

Absolutely.   I’m still amazed at what gear  commercial fisherman are allowed to use, in some Instances, to catch their target species.   

Agreed.  Although I would argue you can’t specifically target just one species once a gill net is deployed.  Yes if your targeting flounder you will catch flounder, but that is flounder of all sizes, 15” and above, also below.  The likely hood of a non legal flounder serving a gill net and being released without gill or structural body damage is small.

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On 6/25/2021 at 12:37 PM, Snow said:

Agreed.  Although I would argue you can’t specifically target just one species once a gill net is deployed.  Yes if your targeting flounder you will catch flounder, but that is flounder of all sizes, 15” and above, also below.  The likely hood of a non legal flounder serving a gill net and being released without gill or structural body damage is small.

 

That's the part that amazes me - Deploy a net like that with the intent of catching flounder (or any target species for that matter) and actually believing that the ONLY species you're going to catch is your target species. There is a lot of by-catch that happens when using those types of nets with the end result being the death of anything that happens to entangle itself. 

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9 hours ago, Snow said:

Forgive my ignorance... how do you mean pressure from other states?

NC, SC, GA, and FL are all "working together" on the decreased flounder issue. In SC (and likely others) there are rumblings both at the legislative and biologist level that NC commercial activity is a large driving factor in this decline.

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14 hours ago, SouthernWake said:

NC, SC, GA, and FL are all "working together" on the decreased flounder issue. In SC (and likely others) there are rumblings both at the legislative and biologist level that NC commercial activity is a large driving factor in this decline.

10-4, thank you.

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