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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 09 Dolphin SSR 2012

Marine Fisheries

Dolphin fish / mahi mahi

Dolphin - 2012

Stock Status – Viable – The status of dolphin is based on trends in landings data. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) approved the Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit (ACL) Amendment for dolphin in 2011. The amendment sets ACLs, accountability measures and allocations for dolphin. The South Atlantic ACL for dolphin would be set at 14,596,216 pounds (whole weight) with an allocation of 7.3% commercial and 92.7% recreational. If the ACL is exceeded, the following year’s landings would be monitored in-season to see if there is a continued increase in landings. If so, NOAA Fisheries would publish a notice to reduce the length of the fishing season as necessary to ensure the ACL is not exceeded.

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2002–2011 – 251,445 lbs./$465,797

2011 Commercial Landings and Value – 94,210 lbs./$244,752

Average Recreational Landings 2002–2011 – 4,358,124 lbs., 2011 – 3,858,196 lbs.

Average Number of Award Citations (35 lbs.) 2002–2011 – 265, 2011 – 113

Status of Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) – Dolphin is currently included in the N.C Interjurisdictional FMP, which defers to SAFMC FMP compliance requirements. The SAFMC approved an FMP for dolphin in 2004.

Research and Data Needs – Stock identification studies, migration, diet, batch fecundity, direct validation through mark and recapture to confirm scale annuli, collection of small, fishery–independent samples to accurately describe first year growth rates

Current Regulations – 10 fish/day for recreational anglers; charter vessel limit 60/trip; no recreational sale; permits required for charter and commercial vessels

Harvest Season – Open year round; landings are seasonal

Size and Age at Maturity – 23 inches total length (TL)/4–6 months

Historical and Current Maximum Age – 4 years/3 years

Juvenile Abundance Index – Not available

Habits and Habitats – Dolphin are a coastal/oceanic highly migratory pelagic species. The current hypothesis suggests dolphin migrate from the central Caribbean through the mid–Atlantic to Bermuda and back to the central Caribbean, however the occurrence of year–round dolphin off the coast of North Carolina suggest dolphin likely have a more complex stock structure than originally thought. Dolphin are extremely fast growing (3.78 mm/day in the first 6 months), mature early, and have a protracted spawning season (year round, with highest levels from January through June).

For more information, email Randy Gregory at Randy.Gregory@ncdenr.gov or call 800-682–2632 or 252-726–7021.

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

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