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Marine Fisheries - 06 2016 NR Archives

Marine Fisheries

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News Release Archives — June 2016


Release: Immediate
Date: June 27, 2016
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

State certifies new record skipjack tuna

MOREHEAD CITY — The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries has certified a new state record for skipjack tuna.

Timothy Ray Street of Valdese hooked the 32-pound, 8-ounce-fish May 24 at the Rock Pile, a series of rock ledges in the Gulf Stream, about 23 miles out of Hatteras Inlet.

The fish measured 37 inches fork length (tip of the nose to the fork in the tail) and had a girth of 25 inches. Street caught it using ballyhoo for bait on 80-pound test line.

Street’s catch bested the previous state record of 32 pounds, zero ounces, caught off Hatteras in 2014. The world record skipjack tuna weighed 45 pounds, 4 ounces, and was caught off of Baja, Mexico in 1996.

For more information, contact Carole Willis, with the North Carolina Saltwater Fishing Tournament, at 252-808-8081 or carole.y.willis@ncdenr.gov.

Download a high resolution photo of Street and his record fish here.

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Release: Immediate
Date: June 21, 2016
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Coastal recreational fishermen hooked more fish in 2015

MOREHEAD CITY — Coastal recreational fishermen hooked more fish in 2015 than they did in 2014.

Anglers brought an estimated 10.2 million fish to the docks in 2015, an increase of 6.8 percent over 2014. The estimated weight of these landings rose by 32 percent to 11.6 million pounds. Anglers also released 6 percent more fish in 2015 than in 2014.

The top five recreational species harvested, by pounds, were dolphin, bluefish, yellowfin tuna, cobia and wahoo. Landings increased for three of these five species.

The number of dolphin taken increased by 132 percent over the previous year to 430,296 fish (3.2 million pounds), the highest since 2011. Recreational wahoo and cobia harvest rose, as well. Anglers hooked 66 percent more wahoo (19,284 fish or 534,787 pounds) and 62 percent more cobia (15,875 fish or 675,859 pounds). Cobia harvests were the highest since 2013 and the average weight of the cobia nearly doubled from 2014 (a fluctuation that is not uncommon from year-to-year).

A likely reason dolphin, wahoo and cobia harvests rose was that fishermen redirected efforts to catch them in the absences of yellowfin tuna harvests. Anglers brought 10.7 percent fewer yellowfin tuna to the docks (24,205 fish or 723,127 pounds).

Rounding out the top five recreational species, bluefish harvests decreased by16 percent to 911,983 fish (769,262 pounds).

Also notable in recreational fisheries, estimated spotted seatrout harvests for 2015 were the lowest on record. One likely contributing factor to the low catches was the back to back cold stuns in 2013 and 2014. The Division of Marine Fisheries closed spotted seatrout harvest Feb. 5 to June 15 in 2014 to allow the fish that survive the cold stun event the maximum chance to spawn in the spring. Another factor may have been the abnormal amount of rainfall in eastern North Carolina in the fall and winter of 2015 that flushed the creeks with freshwater, causing fish to move to higher salinities.

Even though catches were very low, spotted seatrout remained the second highest target species following flounder. Also, while spotted seatrout harvest was down in 2015, estimates of recreational released catch (undersized) were at near record levels.

The Division of Marine Fisheries estimates recreational fishing harvests through broad-based intercept surveys, where port agents talk to fishermen on the beach, at the piers and at boat ramps, and through mail surveys to license holders.

For a full landings report, click on the 2015 Annual Fisheries Bulletin link at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/marine-fisheries-catch-statistics.

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Release: Immediate
Date: June 21, 2016
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Commercial seafood landings increased last year

MOREHEAD CITY — Mild weather allowed North Carolina’s commercial fishermen to work into late autumn and early winter in 2015, resulting in more seafood caught and sold for the second year in a row.

Commercial fishermen sold 66 million pounds of finfish and shellfish to seafood dealers last year, 6.8 percent more than in 2014 and higher than the five-year average of 60.5 million pounds. The dockside value of these landings rose 10.7 percent to an estimated $104 million, topping the five-year average annual value of $84.2 million.

Most notable among 2015 commercial fishing statistics were increases in shrimp and hard crab landings during the latter months of the year.

Shrimp landings increased by 94 percent in 2015 to 9.1 million pounds, the highest since 2008. Shrimp landings in 2015 had an estimated ex-vessel value (fisherman sale to fish house) of $16.8 million, a 19 percent increase over 2014.

The effects of milder weather can be seen in late-season landings and in fishing effort. November 2015 shrimp landings increased by 307 percent from November 2014, and December 2015 shrimp landings were 10 times the amount of the previous year. The number of shrimp trawl fishing trips taken in December 2015 increased by 642 percent compared to 2014.

Hard blue crab landings increased by 23 percent to 31 million pounds. With an estimated ex-vessel value of $29.5 million, hard blue crab remained atop the list of the state’s commercial marine fisheries annual rankings in both pounds caught and sold and dockside value.

Milder weather also impacted late season landings and fishing effort for crab. November 2015 crab landings increased by 198 percent from 2014, and December 2015 landings were 387 percent higher than in 2014. The number of crab pot fishing trips taken in December 2015 increased by 150 percent and resulted in December landings 386.5 percent higher than in 2014.

With the exception of shrimp and crabs, the remaining species in the top five species landed were lower in 2015 than in 2014. Spiny dogfish landings dropped 25 percent to 4.2 million pounds; summer flounder dropped 1 percent to 2.9 million pounds; and Atlantic croaker dropped 31 percent to 1.8 million pounds.

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries collects commercial fishing landings statistics through legislatively-mandated reporting of all fisherman to dealer transactions. The Trip Ticket Program began in 1994.

For a full landings report, click on the 2015 Annual Fisheries Bulletin link at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/marine-fisheries-catch-statistics.

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

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