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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 09 Dolphin SSR 2015

Marine Fisheries

Dolphin fish / mahi mahi

Dolphin - 2015

Stock Status – Viable – The status of dolphin is based on trends in landings data.  The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plan is currently managed under recent Amendment 5 (2014). Amendment 5 revises acceptable biological catches, annual catch limits, sector allocations, accountability measures, and annual catch targets implemented through the Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit Amendment.

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2005-2014 – 257,351 lbs./$615,623

2014 Commercial Landings and Value – 422,496 lbs./$1,237,458

Average Recreational Landings 2005-2014 – 3,434,884 lbs., 2014 – 1,338,209 lbs.

Average Number of Award Citations (35 lbs.) 2005-2014 219, 2014 – 273

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 and is currently managed under recent Amendment 5 (2014).

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.

2014 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.

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

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