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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 05 Striped Bass CSMA SSR 2014

Marine Fisheries

Striped bass

Striped Bass - 2014

Central/Southern Management Area (CSMA)
 

Stock Status – Concern– The lack of adequate data causes the CSMA stocks to be quantitatively assessed as unknown and to be listed as “concern”. The need for continued conservation management efforts are supported by the truncated size and age distributions, low overall abundance, and the absence of older fish in the spawning ground surveys. Since the 2004 FMP, there has been little change in the size and age distribution with few age 6 and older fish observed in any system. A major cause for concern over striped bass in the CSMA involves environmental conditions on the upper river spawning grounds in the spring. Dams blocking access to spawning habitat and low water flow associated with droughts, municipal withdrawals, and electrical power production frequently limit the spawning success of this species. Due to lack of funding, there are dependent and independent data that must be collected before an accurate stock assessment can be made.

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2004-2013 – 24,337 lbs./$53,565

2013 Commercial Landings and Value – 28,341 lbs./$84,040 (quota managed)

Average Recreational Landings 2004-2013 – 11,241 lbs., 2013 – 20,143 lbs.

Average Number of Award Citations (35 lbs./45 inches^) 2004-2013*– 264 (76 releases), 2013*–0 (0 releases)

Status of Fishery Management Plan (FMP) – CSMA stocks are not included in the interjurisdictional FMP like the Albemarle Sound Management Area (ASMA) stock and the Atlantic Ocean Migratory stock. Instead, they are solely managed under the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass FMP since they are estuarine and not considered to be part of the ocean migratory stock. The N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass FMP was adopted in 2004 by the N. C. Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) and N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) to address the striped bass fisheries in all internal coastal waters of the state. Amendment 1 to the North Carolina Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan was approved by the MFC in February 2013 and WRC in May 2013. Amendment 1 maintains the status quo for recreational and commercial harvest (including a targeted fishery) with two exceptions. A quota overage payback for the commercial fishery was implemented and effective for the 2014 fishing season. Also a rule was modified to remove the prohibition on the sale and purchase of striped bass taken by hook-and-line gear. This will not automatically authorize the use of hook-and-line gear in the commercial striped bass fishery, but it will permit issuance of a proclamation to allow the use of this gear at some future date.

Research and Data Needs – Expand commercial, recreational, and independent sampling in the CSMA. Determine system of origin of fish on the spawning grounds, maturation schedule, and determine age structure of striped bass in the CSMA.

2013 Regulations – There is a harvest moratorium, for both the recreational and commercial fisheries, in the Cape Fear River and its tributaries. Both commercial and recreational fishermen are subject to an 18 inch total length (TL) minimum size limit for striped bass within the CSMA. In joint and inland CSMA waters recreational fishermen are subject to a 22-27-inch TL protective slot, in which no fish may be retained. Recreational fishermen are subject to a two fish per person per day creel limit. Commercial fishermen are subject to 10 fish per person per day limit with a maximum of two limits per commercial operation.

Harvest Season – Recreational CSMA internal coastal and joint waters is October 1st through April 30th. The commercial spring season opens by proclamation anytime between January 1st through April 30th and is closed by proclamation once the quota is reached.

Size and Age at Maturity** – Males: 12-8 inches TL/2-3 years; Females: 18-24 inches TL/3-6 years

Historical and Current Maximum Age** – 29 years/17 years

Juvenile Abundance Index – Not available for CSMA

Habits and Habitats – Striped bass are anadromous, spending the majority of their adult life in the waters of the estuaries and nearshore ocean, migrating to fresh water to spawn in the spring. Striped bass require flowing, fresh water habitats in order to spawn successfully, allowing the eggs to remain suspended until they hatch, and to transport larvae to the nursery areas. Spawning takes place during late April until early June. North Carolina is host to several different stocks of striped bass. One is the Atlantic migratory stock that over-winters off southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. In years with mild winters, they may not migrate all the way down into North Carolina waters, as was the case in 2012 and 2013. These striped bass originate principally from the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware and Hudson river systems. They remain in their natal systems from two to three years then begin migrating along the Atlantic coast, northward in the summer and southward during the winter. The Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River area supports the largest spawning population in North Carolina. Other populations are found in the Tar/Pamlico, Neuse, and Cape Fear rivers, and are considered estuarine (non-anadromous).

*Includes ASMA, CSMA, and the Atlantic Ocean
^Citation requirement changes effective 2008
** Based on ASMA stock, not known for CSMA stocks

For more information on CSMA striped bass, contact Garry Wright at Garry.Wright@ncdenr.gov or 800-338-7804 or 252-946-6481.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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