Dolphin - 2013
Stock Status – Viable – The status of dolphin is based on trends in landings data. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved the Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit Amendment in 2011. The amendment sets Annual Catch Limits, accountability measures and allocations for dolphin. The South Atlantic Annual Catch Limit for dolphin is set at 14,596,216 pounds (whole weight) with an allocation of 7.3% commercial and 92.7% recreational. If the Annual Catch Limit 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 Annual Catch Limit is not exceeded. A new stock assessment is scheduled for 2015.
Average Commercial Landings and Value 2003–2012 – 259,500 lbs./$517,069
2012 Commercial Landings and Value – 248,979 lbs./$756,230
Average Recreational Landings 2003–2012 – 3,719,419 lbs., 2012 – 2,559,114 lbs.
Average Number of Award Citations (35 lbs.) 2003–2012 – 220, 2012 – 147
Status of Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) – Dolphin is currently included in the North Carolina Interjurisdictional Fishery Management Plan, which defers to South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Fishery Management Plan compliance requirements. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved a Fishery Management Plan 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.
2012 Regulations –10 fish/day for recreational anglers, with a maximum daily private/charter vessel limit of 60 fish/boat; 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, contact Randy Gregory at Randy.Gregory@ncdenr.gov or 800-682–2632 or 252-726–7021.