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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 2011 Stock Status Report

Marine Fisheries

Stock Status of Important Coastal Fisheries in North Carolina
Archival Reports: 2011

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

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2011 Stock Status Report cover letter | Stock status news release
Status definitions can be found here | Glossary of fisheries terms can be found here.

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Species and Stock
Status
 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Bass, Black Sea

           

North of Hatteras

    fish icon    

The stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. However, this is a data poor stock and there is significant uncertainty associated with the natural mortality estimate, the assessment model input parameters, and managing a protogynous species (individuals change sex from female to male).

South of Hatteras

       fish icon  

The stock is under a federally managed rebuilding plan which went into place in 2006. A new stock assessment will be completed in December 2011.

Bass, Striped

           

Albemarle Sound and
Roanoke River

 fish icon        

Based on results of the 2010 stock assessment the stock is not experiencing overfishing and biomass remains high. The stock age structure is broad including fish 17 years old. Development of Amendment 1 to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass FMP is currently underway.

 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments
Atlantic Ocean Migratory Stock fish icon        

Based on results of the ASMFC 2009 updated stock assessment, Atlantic coast striped bass are not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. The model estimates that the resource remains at a high level of abundance with female spawning stock biomass well above the target level. The stock assessment will be updated in the fall of 2011.

     fish icon    

Stocks lack a quantified stock assessment, and show a truncated size and age distribution that lacks older age classes. Improved dependent and independent data collection must be conducted before an accurate stock assessment can be made. Development of Amendment 1 to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass FMP is currently underway.

*Status change due to the lack of a useable stock assessment. Stock continues to show signs of low abundance and an absence of older fish.

 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments
Bluefish fish icon        

The Atlantic stock of bluefish is not overfished and is not experiencing overfishing. The ASMFC Bluefish Technical Committee continues to work on improving and refining bluefish age data and the bluefish stock assessment.

Catfishes (A)          fish icon

Independent and dependent sampling began March 2004 to fulfill data/research needs for the upcoming FMP.

Croaker, Atlantic     fish icon    

Atlantic croaker is not experiencing overfishing and is likely not overfished. Trends in independent data indicate that biomass has been increasing and more, older fish have been observed in the catch.

Dolphin fish icon        

SAFMC’s Dolphin Wahoo FMP was approved in 2004. The SAFMC continues to work on the Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit Amendment. The amendment will meet federal mandates to establish annual catch limits and accountability measures for managed species that are not undergoing overfishing by the end of 2011.

 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments
Drum, Red   fish icon      

Overfishing is not occurring. A stock assessment completed in 2009 by the ASMFC continues to indicate that current regulations have been successful.

Eel, American          fish icon

Stock status is poorly understood due to limited stock assessment results and non– standard sampling protocols across the species’ range. No range– wide estimate of abundance exists and reliable indices of abundance of this species are scarce.

Flounder, Southern       fish icon  

Stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring based on the 2009 stock assessment. Development of Amendment 1 to the DMF FMP is currently underway. Supplement A to the FMP was implemented in February 2011 for the recreational fishery. These reductions, combined with existing commercial measures, achieve sustainable harvest.

 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments
Flounder, Summer  fish icon        

Overfishing is no longer occurring and the stock is no longer overfished.

Grouper, Gag     fish icon    

The stock is not overfished but overfishing is occurring. The federally managed plan is restricting harvest to end overfishing.

Herring, River (A)            
Albemarle Sound
      fish icon  

The MFC implemented a no harvest provision for commercial and recreational fisheries in joint and coastal waters of the state, beginning in 2007. Current research is being conducted by DMF in the Albemarle Sound area to re-evaluate spawning habitat, expand juvenile sampling and monitor the Chowan River adult spawning stock.

Other Areas
        fish icon

No current sampling program.

 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments
Kingfishes (A)         fish icon

The DMF FMP completed in 2007 indicated a healthy age structure in the stock along with increasing trends in fishery independent and dependent abundance indices.

Mackerel, King     fish icon    

Based on the SAFMC 2008 stock assessment, the South Atlantic king mackerel stock is not overfished. It is uncertain whether overfishing is occurring.

Mackerel, Spanish fish icon        

The Spanish mackerel stock in the South Atlantic is not undergoing overfishing; however, the 2008 SAFMC stock assessment model and underlying data are insufficient to make a determination on whether or not the stock is overfished.

 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments
Menhaden, Atlantic      fish icon    

Based on the corrected version of the 2010 benchmark stock assessment, Atlantic menhaden are not overfished but is experiencing overfishing. The ASMFC Atlantic menhaden board has tasked its Technical Committee to develop alternative reference points for the stock.

Monkfish  
fish icon
     

Based on revised biomass reference points, NMFS no longer considers the Northern or Southern stocks overfished. The biomass indices for both stocks are above the minimum biomass threshold and biomass target index.

Mullet, Striped
fish icon
       

The stock is not overfished. Landings for 2010 were within management threshold limits. Historically, the commercial fishery has had sustained landings similar to current levels. Future harvest levels are expected to be affected by rule changes enacted in 2010 aimed at reducing interactions with sea turtles in the large mesh gill net fishery.

 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments
Perch, White        
fish icon

Independent and dependent sampling began March 2004 to fulfill data/research needs for the upcoming FMP.

Perch, Yellow      fish icon    

There has been a significant increase in effort and landings since 1991. Fish are targeted in the winter and early spring during spawning within specific river systems.

Reef Fish (B)

    fish icon    

Of the 73 species in the SAFMC unit, several are considered overfished. The overfished stocks include snowy grouper, red porgy, red snapper, red grouper, and black sea bass south of Cape Hatteras.

Species and Stock
Status
 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments
Seatrout, Spotted        fish icon  

The 2009 N.C. spotted seatrout stock assessment indicated that the stock in North Carolina and Virginia has been overfished and overfishing has been occurring throughout the entire 18-year time series. Consecutive cold stun events of 2010 and 2011 likely had a significant impact on the spawning stock biomass of North Carolina’s spotted seatrout population.

Scup fish icon         The 2009 updated assessment indicates that the stock is not considered overfished and is not currently experiencing overfishing. Greatly improved recruitment and low fishing mortality rates have occurred since 1998. This stock is no longer considered a data poor stock.
 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments
Shad, American     fish icon    

Commercial landings increased in 2010, and are approaching the 10– year average. The 2007 ASMFC coast wide stock assessment concluded that the Albemarle Sound area stocks were stable, but well below historical levels and the stock status of the other systems in N.C. were unknown.

Shad, Hickory         fish icon Commercial landings have increased since 2007 and are above the ten year average for the first time since 2005. The DMF has not conducted any directed sampling since 1993.
Sharks     fish icon    

The ASMFC has developed a Coastal Shark FMP. Recent assessment results indicate great uncertainty about the various shark species, their current status is of concern because of the overfished status of sandbar shark, shortfin mako shark, blacknose shark, and scalloped hammerhead shark.

 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Spiny Dogfish

 fish icon        

Spiny dogfish are currently managed under the joint MAFMC and NEFMC FMP in federal waters (3– 200 miles) and the ASMFC Spiny Dogfish Interstate FMP in state waters (0– 3 miles). The 2009 Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee assessment update indicates that the spiny dogfish stock is considered to be rebuilt.

Spot     fish icon    

Recreational and commercial landings decreased in 2010 to historical lows, however the catch per unit effort in the commercial fisheries (inshore/offshore gillnet and long haul) increased and the juvenile abundance index increased.

Sturgeon, Atlantic       fish icon  

The ASMFC is responsible for managing this species and considers the stocks to be depleted along the Atlantic coast. There is a coast-wide prohibition on possession.

Weakfish
(Gray Trout)
      fish icon  

The weakfish stock along the Atlantic coast is at a level of low abundance. Coast- wide landings are at their lowest levels on record. The most recent assessment indicates that the cause is likely due to factors other than fishing mortality. The ASMFC has set strict harvest limits in response to the decline in an effort to aid in stock recovery.

 
 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments
Clam, Hard         fish icon

Based on the best available indicators, harvest levels in most areas appeared relatively constant in recent years. Amendment 1 of the FMP was completed in 2008. Data limitations prevent DMF from conducting a hard clam stock assessment and calculating sustainable harvest.

Crab, Blue      fish icon    

Increased concern for the blue crab stock is due to reduced landings of hard blue crabs during 2000–2002 and 2005–2007, following record- high landings observed during 1996–1999.

Oyster, Eastern    
fish icon
   

Concern status is due to long term decline caused by overharvesting and habitat disturbances. Sampling data shows DERMO has declined in recent years and commercial landings have shown marked improvement. Recreational landings are unknown.

Scallop, Bay  
 
 fish icon    

High natural mortality from environmental change and predation cause annual variability in abundance. Sampling showed low abundance in all areas in 2010. The main harvest season (late January – March) was not opened in 2011 due to limited availability of scallops.

Shrimp(C) fish icon        

Annual shrimp stock condition is determined mainly by environmental and recruitment conditions. Natural mortality far outweighs fishing mortality.

Totals 10 2 13 7 7
 
(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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