Contact: Patricia Smith
MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ 2010 Stock Status report shows saltwater fish populations in North Carolina are stable and, in many cases, improving.
“We’re continuing to see some positive trends as reflected in the recovery and continued viability of several species,” said Louis Daniel, director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.
Spiny dogfish moved from “recovering” to “viable” based on a 2010 stock assessment that found that the stock has been rebuilt.
Summer flounder remains listed as "recovering" and striped bass in the ocean and in the Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River Management Area remain listed as viable.
“Fishermen potentially may see increased quota for all three of these fisheries for the coming fishing year due to this continued success,” Daniel said.
Additionally, bay scallops continue to recover, allowing for periodic season openings in some water bodies. Oysters, while remaining listed as “concern,” have shown signs of improvement with increased landings and increased spat fall in both wild harvest areas and in sanctuaries.
Spotted seatrout, however moved from “concern” to “depleted” based on a 2009 stock assessment. The assessment indicated the stock is overfished and undergoing overfishing based on data from 1991-2008.
“We don’t like to see any stocks downgraded, but we’ve already implemented a higher size limit for spotted seatrout and a rebuilding plan should be completed prior to the next harvest season,” Daniel said.
The annual stock status report serves as a general barometer of the overall health of North Carolina’s coastal fishery resources, and it is used to prioritize development of fishery management plans and subsequent plan amendments.
The 2010 Stock Status Report can be found online at http://www.ncfisheries.net/stocks/index.html. Definitions for the stock status categories can be found at http://www.ncfisheries.net/stocks/stockdef.htm.
For more information, contact division biologist Kathy Rawls at (252) 264-3911 or Kathy.Rawls@ncdenr.gov.