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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 2003 Stock Status Report

Marine Fisheries

Stock Status of Important Coastal Fisheries in North Carolina
Archival Reports: 2003

Click on a species name to get a more detailed report on its status.

Download a printer-friendly PDF version of this page.
Status definitions can be found here. Glossary of fisheries terms can be 
found here.

Important Note: Documents containing recreational fishing catch statistics that were prepared before 02/01/2012 will be
updated to reflect changes in the methodology used to produce estimates.
For more information contact Doug.Mumford@ncdenr.gov.


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Species and Stock
Status
 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Overfished
Unknown
Comments
Bass, Black Sea            
N. of Hatteras (+)         Based on the NEFSC survey, black sea bass north of Cape Hatteras are no longer overfished.
S. of Hatteras       (-)   Overfished based on SAFMC assessment.
Bass, Striped            
Albemarle-Roanoke X         1994 Management plan is being amended to manage a recovered stock.
Atlantic Ocean X         ASMFC is currently managing under Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass.
Central/Southern       (-)   Stocks are much lower than historical levels. Despite stocking efforts, numbers of mature fish on the spawning grounds are relatively low. NC FMP is being developed. Analysis of data collected on the spawning grounds indicates that the stock is being overfished.
Bluefish   X       ASMFC/MAFMC plan. Biomass models infer fishing mortality has steadily declined since 1987, and should result in stabilization of the stock.
Catfishes (A)         X No current sampling program due to budget and personnel constraints
Croaker, Atlantic     X     A recruitment driven stock where biomass and landings fluctuate in response to large year classes. The ocean fisheries appear viable and there has been a recent expansion of the length distribution from inside waters.
Dolphin/Wahoo X         SAFMC plan to be approved and implemented in 2003.
Drum, Red   (+)       Current regulations are designed to divert overfishing allowing for increased juvenile recruitment to the adult population and subsequent stock recovery.
Eel, American         X Much remains unknown about American eel life history and fisheries. Juvenile recruitment survey for North Carolina was initiated in 2001 as part of the ASMFC eel FMP.
Flounder, Southern       X   Stock is overfished based on the latest stock assessment. A new stock assessment if currently underway and a NC FMP is being developed.
Flounder, Summer (+)         Based on the 2003 assessment, the summer flounder stock is no longer overfished and overfishing is no longer occurring.
Grouper, Gag           New assessment indicates recovery goal has been met.
Herring, River (A)            
Albemarle Sound       X   River Herring FMP approved by MFC February 2000. Reduced number of age classes in harvest, low juvenile production, fewer number of repeat spawners.
Other Areas         X No current sampling program.
Kingfishes (A)         X Sink nets and shrimp trawls responsible for most of the commercial ocean catch.
Mackerel, King X         "Based on the 2003 stock assessment, spawning stock biomass is above target and fishing mortality is below target."
Mackerel, Spanish X         "Based on the 2003 stock assessment, spawning stock biomass is above target and fishing mortality is below target."
Menhaden, Atlantic X         Very high spawning stock; improved recruitment of juveniles.
Monkfish       X   FMP developed by NE/MAFMC - 10 year recovery period.
Mullet, Striped     X     Large yearly landings and heavy fishing effort during its spawning period are cause for concern. Fishery management plan is currently being written.
Perch, White     X     No sampling programs due to budget and personnel constraints
Perch, Yellow     X     No sampling programs due to budget and personnel constraints
Reef Fish (B)     X     Of the 73 species (including black sea bass) in the SAFMC unit, 17 are considered overfished
Species and Stock Status
  Viable Recovering Concern Overfished Unknown Marine Fisheries Comments
Scup   (+)       Assessment indicates scup no longer overfished; survey data indicate strong recruitment and some rebuilding of age structure. However, stock status with respect to overfishing cannot currently be evaluated due to unknown estimates of discard mortality.
Shad, American     X     ASMFC plan in place. DMF conducting fishery dependent and independent sampling.
Shad, Hickory         X "Landings significantly decreased. No assessment work has been conducted since 1993.
Sharks       X   Increases in fishing pressure over the past thirteen years prompted State and federal fishery management measures.
Spiny Dogfish       X   MA/NEFMC plan for federal waters and ASMFC plan for state waters developed. Female spawning stock biomass below target biomass. Survey indicies of pup production are the lowest on record for the last 6 years. 15-20 year recovery period."
Spot X         Fluctuating landings not unusual for short-lived species.
Spotted Seatrout X         ASMFC plan developed. Stock status heavily dependent upon environmental conditions.
Sturgeon, Atlantic       X   ASMFC is responsible for managing this species and considers the stocks to be depleted along the Atlantic coast. Coast-wide prohibition on possession.
Tautog       X   Current ASMFC coastwide assessment considers tautog overfished. NC statewide assessment has not be conducted.
Weakfish X         Viable based on all criteria. Record high spawning stock biomass, expanded age structure, and low fishing mortality.
Shellfish and Crustaceans
Clam, Hard         X Although landings data exist on clams, more data are required for stock status. NC FMP approved 2001.
Oyster, Eastern     X     Concern status due to high mortality from Dermo infections, evidence of increased oyster habitat loss, low catch-per-unit-effort, and reduced spatfall in the northern area. NC FMP approved 2001.
Scallop, Bay     X     Low landings and recruitment were caused by varying environmental conditions and heavy predation by rays.
Crab, Blue     X     Significantly reduced landings of "hard" blue crabs for 2000-2002, following the historically record high landings observed during 1996 - 1999, has caused increased industry concern for the health of the resource and fishery. Overall landings increased slightly from the 2001 levels. "Peeler/soft crab" landings were the lowest since 1994. During 2002, many areas (i.e., Pamlico, Core, Bogue, Stump, and Topsail sounds; Neuse, Bay, and Newport rivers) yielded the lowest landings on record for the period from 1994-2002. NC FMP is under review.
Shrimp (C) X         Annual Stock. Abundances may be greatly affected by environmental conditions.
Totals 13 3 9 9 6  
Change Symbols (+) Stock status improved since last report   (-) Stock status declined since last report  
(A) Catfishes includes 5 species, Kingfishes (Sea Mullet) includes 3 species, and there are two species of river herring.
(B)The reef fish group includes about 75 species, while there are more than 40 species of sharks. Within these groups, individual species range from Viable to Overfished. The status indicated is for the group as a whole.
(C)
Shrimp consists of 3 species - brown, pink, and white.
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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