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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 10 Red Drum SSR 2016

Marine Fisheries

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Red Drum

Red Drum — 2016

Stock Status Recovering – The regional benchmark stock assessment (North Carolina and all states north), conducted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) in 2009, indicated that regulations have been effective at preventing overfishing. However, the overfished status for the stock remains undetermined. A new benchmark stock assessment capable of determining the overfished status was scheduled for completion in the fall of 2015 but finalization of that model has been delayed until later in 2016 to allow for further analysis and evaluation of stock conditions.

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2006-2015 — 177,628 lbs./$311,065
2015 Commercial Landings and Value 80,390 lbs./$193,827
Average Recreational Landings 2006-2015 – 324,627 lbs., 2015 – 154,496 lbs.
Average Number of Award Citations (40-inches release only) 2006-2015 – 1,362, 2015 – 1,846

Status of Fishery Management Plan (FMP) – Red drum in North Carolina are managed under both an Interjurisdictional FMP (Amendment 2 to the ASMFC Red Drum FMP) and a state FMP (Amendment 1 to the N.C. Red Drum FMP). The Interjurisdictional FMP requires management be adopted by North Carolina as the minimum standard for the fishery, while the N.C. Red Drum FMP can adopt more restrictive measures. The last ASMFC stock assessment for red drum was completed in 2009 with results indicating that regulations in place since the late 1990’s effectively eliminated overfishing of red drum in North Carolina. The N.C. Red Drum FMP began development in 1998 and was the catalyst for the current regulations. More recently, Amendment 1 to the N.C. Red Drum FMP (2008) was approved and required no further changes to harvest limits. Steps were taken through Amendment 1 to reduce the impact of mortality associated with regulatory discards. These included, requiring circle hooks in some of the adult red drum recreational fisheries and expanding the current small mesh gill net attendance requirements in the commercial fishery. Amendment 2 to the ASMFC Red Drum FMP was adopted in June of 2002 and required states to implement and maintain management measures that prevent overfishing and achieve optimum yield in the red drum fishery. Regulations enacted as part of the original N.C. Red Drum FMP have satisfied this requirement.

Research and Data Needs – Information on the size distribution of recreational releases, commercial discard estimates, fisheries independent data on recruitment of juvenile fish to adults, assessment of adult stocks, estimates of fecundity for females, and validation of sub-adult abundance indices.

2015 Regulations – 18 inches total length (TL) minimum size limit and 27 inches TL maximum for recreational and commercial fishermen; 1 fish/day for recreational anglers. The commercial fishery is limited to a bycatch allowance that is set by proclamation. Check with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries for the most recent proclamation on red drum. The commercial fishing season is monitored from September 1 to August 31 with a 250,000 pound annual cap. No possession of fish greater than 27 inches TL is allowed.

Harvest Season – Year round

Size and Age at Maturity – 30-32 inches TL/3-4 years

Maximum Age – 62 years

Juvenile Abundance Index (number of fish per haul) 2006-2015 – Red Drum Juvenile Seine Survey 3.9, 2015 – 4.9

Habits and Habitats – Red drum are estuarine dependent members of the drum family that includes Atlantic croaker, spot, black drum, weakfish, and spotted sea trout. Large red drum (up to 90 lbs.) inhabit the coastal waters of North Carolina throughout the year, often observed in the surf during the spring and fall seasons and commonly found in the Pamlico Sound during the summer months. Spawning takes place in the fall around coastal inlets and in Pamlico Sound. Larval and juvenile drum use various shallow estuarine habitats in coastal sounds and rivers during the first few years of life. Upon maturity, red drum move out of the estuaries to join the adult spawning stock in the ocean.

For more information, contact Lee Paramore at Lee.Paramore@ncdenr.gov or 252-473-5734.

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

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