skip to main content | skip to footer
North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 13 Summer Flounder SSR 2014

Marine Fisheries

Summer Flounder

Summer Flounder - 2014

Stock Status – Viable – The 2013 National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) benchmark stock assessment indicated the stock was not overfished and overfishing did not occur in 2012. The annual fishing mortality rate declined greatly since 1995 and has been fairly consistent since 2006. Spawning stock biomass greatly increased during the late-1990s and has been fairly consistent since 2003. The summer flounder stock reached the biomass target in 2010, therefore the stock is considered rebuilt and viable.
Average Commercial Landings and Value 2004-2013 – 2,862,275 lbs./$5,836,905

2013 Commercial Landings and Value - 541,661 lbs./ $1,386,627 (quota–managed)

Average Recreational Landings 2004-2013 – 129,511 lbs., 2013 – 70,874 lbs.

Average Number of Award Citations (5 lbs.) 2004–2013*– 360, 2013* – 411

Status of Fishery Management Plan (FMP) – In North Carolina, summer flounder are managed under the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC)/Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (MAFMC) Interjurisdictional Fisheries Management Plan (FMP), adopted in 1988, and defers to ASMFC FMP compliance requirements. Several amendments to the FMP have impacted management of summer flounder, most recently Amendment 15, part of the 2011 Omnibus Amendment. Management measures include commercial state by state quotas, with North Carolina allocated 26% of total quota. Other commercial measures include minimum mesh sizes for trawls and a moratorium on new entrants. Minimum fish size limits exist for both recreational and commercial sectors, and bag limits are used for the recreational fishery. Addendum XXIV to the Summer Flounder FMP established a mechanism to allow states access to the 2013 summer flounder recreational harvest limit (RHL) that is projected to not be harvested. Addendum XXV allows for the use of regional measures to manage the 2014 summer flounder recreational fishery. The North Carolina Southern Flounder FMP also affects the harvest of this species.

Research and Data Needs – Discard mortality estimates from commercial fishery, collection of otoliths from the commercial fishery and comparison with scales for aging now that age-structure has expanded in North Carolina landings, continued expansion of observer coverage in the flounder trawl and scallop dredge fisheries, and species composition of recreationally released flounder.

2013 Regulations – Commercial: 14 inches total length (TL) minimum size limit; harvest seasons and minimum mesh size for the flounder trawl fishery; bycatch trip limit of 100 lbs. during closed trawl season. A license to land flounder from the Atlantic Ocean is required to land more than 100 lbs. per trip. Recreational: 15 inches TL minimum size limit/6 fish creel limit for all joint and coastal waters.

Harvest Season – Commercial (ocean): January 1-February 28, March 20 –April 5, and December 1-10. The bycatch trip limit of 100 lbs. was in place during the closed season. Note: during the 2013 season, much of the North Carolina quota allocation was landed in Virginia and other states (as a quota transfer) due to shoaling of Oregon Inlet preventing access for many boats. These transferred landings are not reflected in the total landings in this report. Recreational: Year-round with peak catches from June through August.

Size and Age at Maturity – females: 11 inches TL/1 year; males: 10 inches TL/1 year

Historical and Current Maximum Age – 15 years/14 years

Juvenile Abundance Index 2004- 2013^ – 8.0, 2013^ – 9.8

Habits and Habitats – Summer flounder are estuarine dependent members of the left-eyed flounder family that includes southern flounder and Gulf flounder. They are found in the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to the east coast of Florida. In U.S. waters, summer flounder is most common in the Mid-Atlantic region from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Cape Fear, North Carolina. Separate stocks of summer flounder are believed to exist north and south of Cape Hatteras based on tagging and meristics data. Migratory patterns and spawning areas differ for the two stocks but both stocks likely spawn in November through March. Larvae, potentially from both stocks, enter North Carolina inlets in winter and spring and settle in higher–salinity areas of estuaries. Juveniles are believed to generally reside in estuaries for one year prior to reaching maturity. North of Hatteras, summer flounder are found along the outer edge of the continental shelf in the winter and early spring. In late spring and early summer, they move inshore into shallow coastal waters and estuaries, migrating back offshore in the fall. South of Hatteras, migration patterns are less certain.

*Includes southern, summer, and gulf flounders
^ Arithmetic mean from Pamlico Sound Survey (June only)

For more information, contact Tom Wadsworth at Tom.Wadsworth@ncdenr.gov or 252-808-8193.

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

NCDMF logo

Print
38337 FEEDBACK

Your input is valuable to us. Please send us your feedback.

What type of feedback would you like to send?*

Ask a Question Report a Problem Have a Concern Make a Comment

(If you would like us to respond please include your phone or e-mail.)

Your Question has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Problem has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Concern has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Comment has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

*If you are a DENR employee with an I.T. issue, please submit a DOTS ticket.