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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 2012 Stock Status Report

Marine Fisheries

underwater

Stock Status Report 2012

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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

 Bass, Black Sea

 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

North of Hatteras

 

 fish icon

 

     

The stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. However, 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 recovering under a federally managed rebuilding plan which went into place in 2006. A 2011 Stock Assessment (SEDAR 25) indicated the stock is not overfished but has not met the rebuilding plan’s target.

 Bass, Striped

  Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

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. Amendment I to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass FMP was approved by the MFC to go to public comment in September of 2011. The plan is tentatively planned for final adoption at the November 2012 MFC meeting.

Atlantic Ocean Migratory Stock fish icon        

Based on results of the ASMFC 2010 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.

   

 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. Amendment I to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass FMP was approved by the MFC to go to public comment in September 2011. The plan is tentatively scheduled for final adoption at the November 2012 MFC meeting.

  Image
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.

 Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Catfishes (A)

         fish icon

Independent and dependent sampling began March 2004 to fulfill data/research needs for an FMP, however funding was discontinued March 2012.

  Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

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.

 Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

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.

Drum

 

Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Image

Drum, Black (D)

         fish icon A stock assessment for black drum has not been completed, but the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission plans to begin developing an interstate fishery management plan for black drum this year.

Image

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.

 Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Eel, American 

      fish icon  

The stock was declared depleted by the 2012 ASMFC benchmark stock assessment. 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 indexes of abundance of this species are scarce.

Flounder

 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Image

Flounder, Southern

      fish icon  

Stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring based on the 2009 stock assessment. Amendment 1 of the Southern Flounder FMP continues to be developed. DMF is currently analyzing data from management measures adopted to reduce protected species interactions in the large mesh gill net fishery. This analysis will show whether current commercial fishing effort reductions will achieve sustainable harvest in the commercial sector. Supplement A to the FMP was implemented in February 2011 for the recreational fishery.

Image

Flounder, Summer

 fish icon        

Overfishing is no longer occurring and the stock is no longer overfished. The summer flounder stock is considered rebuilt, ahead of the rebuilding deadline of January 1, 2013.

  Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Grouper, Gag

    fish icon     The stock is not overfished but overfishing is occurring. A federal management plan is restricting harvest to end overfishing

Herring

 Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

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 with the 2007 season. Current research is being conducted by the DMF in the Albemarle Sound area to re-evaluate spawning habitat, expand juvenile sampling, and monitor the Chowan River adult spawning stock. A N.C. Sustainable Fishery Plan was approved and demonstrates the sustainability of the discretionary harvest as required by Amendment 2 to the ASMFC Shad and River Herring FMP if any fisheries were to remain open. The North Carolina FMP for river herring will be updated in 2012.

Other Areas

        fish icon

No current sampling program.

  Image
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 juvenile abundance but commercial and recreational landings dropped in 2011.

 Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Mackerel, King

    fish icon    

Based on a 2008 SAFMC stock assessment, the South Atlantic king mackerel stock is not overfished. It is uncertain whether overfishing is occurring; however, if it is, it is occurring at a low level. The 2011 recreational and commercial landings were the lowest in the past ten years. A new stock assessment is scheduled for 2013.

 Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Mackerel, Spanish

fish icon        

Based on a 2008 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.

 Image
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 are experiencing overfishing. The ASMFC Atlantic Menhaden Board has begun development of Amendment 2 to the FMP to end overfishing for all fishing sectors and gear types.

 Image 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Monkfish

 
fish icon
     

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

 Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Mullet, Striped

fish icon
       

The stock is not overfished. Landings for 2011 were within management threshold limits. Historically, the commercial fishery has had sustained landings similar to current levels.

Perch

 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Image

Perch, White

       
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. Independent and dependent sampling began March 2004 to fulfill data/research needs for an FMP, however funding was discontinued March 2012.

Image

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. Independent and dependent sampling began March 2004 to fulfill data/research needs for an FMP; however, funding was discontinued March 2012.

  Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Reef Fish (B)

    fish icon    

Of the 60 species in the SAFMC unit, several are considered overfished. The overfished stocks include snowy grouper, speckled hind, red porgy, red snapper, red grouper, and Warsaw grouper.

 Image
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. Last year’s mild winter likely enabled the stock to partially recover from the previous two unusually cold winters.

Image

Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Scup 

fish icon        

The 2011 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.

Shad

 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Image

Shad, American

    fish icon    

Commercial landings decreased slightly in 2011, and are slightly lower than 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 North Carolina were unknown. The assessment also indicated that the majority of stocks along the East Coast are at all-time lows and continue to decline despite current management efforts. North Carolina is in the process of adopting an American Shad Sustainable Fishery Plan to meet ASMFC requirements. 

Image

Shad, Hickory

        fish icon Commercial landings declined significantly again in 2011 over 2010 landings after increasing every year since 2007. Landings once again fell below the 10-year average. Two Amendments to the Shad and River Herring FMP recently approved by the ASMFC do not directly address hickory shad.  The DMF has not conducted any directed sampling since 1993.
 Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Sharks

    fish icon    

The ASMFC has developed a Coastal Shark FMP and NMFS includes sharks in its Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species FMP. Recent assessment results indicate great uncertainty about the various shark species. Its current status is of concern because of the overfished status of sandbar shark, dusky, blacknose, and porbeagle. Scalloped hammerhead has been petitioned for threatened or endangered status.

 Image
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.

  Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Spot

    fish icon    

Recreational and commercial landings increased in 2011 from historical lows in 2010. The catch-per-unit-effort in the inshore/offshore gill net commercial fisheries increased and the catch-per-unit-effort in the long haul commercial fishery decreased slightly from 2010. However, the juvenile abundance index decreased.

 Image
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

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. On April 5, 2012, NMFS listed the Carolina Distinct Population Segment of Atlantic sturgeon as a federally endangered species.

Image

Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

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.

Shellfish and Crustaceans

 
Viable
Recovering
Concern
Depleted
Unknown
Comments

Image

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.

Image

Crab, Blue

     fish icon    

Concern for the blue crab stock is due to reduced landings below historical levels.  A 2011 stock assessment indicates the blue crab stock is not overfished, but overfishing cannot be determined.

Image

Oyster, Eastern

   
fish icon
   

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

Image

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 2011. The main harvest season (late January – March) was not opened in 2012 due to limited availability of scallops.

Image

Shrimp (C)

fish icon        

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

Totals 10 4 14 5 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 60 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.
(D)
Black drum was added to the stock status report in 2012.

 

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

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