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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 18 Spanish Mackerel SSR 2012

Marine Fisheries

Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel - 2012

Stock Status – Viable – Based on the 2008 South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) stock assessment, the Spanish mackerel stock in the South Atlantic is not undergoing overfishing; however, the stock assessment model and underlying data are insufficient to make a determination on whether or not the stock is overfished. A new stock assessment will be completed in 2012 (SEDAR 28).

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2002– 2011 – 617,632 lbs./$718,731

2011 Commercial Landings and Value – 871,217 lbs./$1,188,854 (quota managed)

Average Recreational Landings 2002– 2011 – 571,823 lbs., 2011 – 434,857 lbs.

Average Number of Award Citations (6 lbs.) 2002– 2011 – 101, 2011 – 84

Status of Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) – In North Carolina, Spanish mackerel are currently included in the Interjurisdictional FMP, which defers to the SAFMC compliance requirements and is currently managed under Amendment 18 (2011) to the SAFMC Coastal Pelagic FMP. The amendment established annual catch limits, annual catch targets and accountability measures for South Atlantic Spanish mackerel. Management measures include commercial and recreational quotas, minimum size limits, commercial trip limits (3,500 lbs./trip), recreational bag limits, and gear restrictions. Charterboat/headboat operators must possess a charter/headboat vessel permit for coastal migratory pelagics and must comply with recreational bag limits.

Research and Data Needs – Bycatch mortality estimates in the directed shrimp fishery, Fishery independent methods of monitoring stock size, Juvenile abundance indices

Current Regulations – 12 inches fork length (FL) minimum size limit, 15 fish/day for recreational anglers

Harvest Season – Open year round, based on a fishing year of April 1 to March 31; commercial and recreational fisheries can close when the quota is reached.

Size and Age at Maturity – 12 inches FL/2 years

Historical and Current Maximum Age – 12 years/8 years

Juvenile Abundance Index – Not available

Habits and Habitats – Spanish mackerel are considered coastal pelagic, meaning they live in the open waters near the coast. They make north and south migrations depending on water temperature, with 68º F being a preferred minimum. In North Carolina’s waters, Spanish mackerel can be found from April to November. They migrate south to the Florida coast in the late fall. In the summer months, they may be found as far inland as the sounds and coastal river mouths. Spanish mackerel spawn from May to September.

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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