Scup - 2013
Stock Status – Viable – The most recent assessment update in 2011 indicates that the stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. Recruitment has been greatly improved and fishing morality rates lower since 1998. The stock is considered rebuilt. Given the success of the latest modeling approach, the stock is no longer considered data poor.
Average Commercial Landings and Value 2003–2012 – 209,194 lbs./$115,031
2012 Commercial Landings and Value – 3,903 lbs./$2,768 (quota managed)
Average Recreational Landings 2003–2012 – 29 lbs., 2012 – 195 lbs.
Status of Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) – In North Carolina, the stock north of Cape Hatteras and south of the United States/Canada border is currently included in the Interjurisdictional FMP, which defers to Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC)/ MAFMC FMP compliance requirements. Scup are currently managed under the joint ASMFC/MAFMC FMP, adopted in 1988. Since that time several amendments to the FMP impacted management of scup, most recently the Omnibus Amendment 15 in 2011. In 2012, the Commission and Council initiated the development of a draft amendment to the Scup Fishery Management Plan to consider revisions to seasonal and sector allocations. A coastwide quota regulates commercial harvest in Winter Period I (winter and early spring) and Winter Period II (late-fall and early-winter), while state–by–state quotas regulate the summer period. Specific management measures for the commercial fishery include minimum size limits, minimum mesh requirements for trawls, and a seasonal closure. Recreational fishery management measures are developed annually and include a combination of minimum size limits, bag limits, and fishing seasons. South of Cape Hatteras, scup are managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
Research and Data Needs – Continue monitoring catches and increase sampling of strata that have substantial landings of scup, collect scup discard mortality data by different commercial gear types.
Current Regulations – Commercial: 9 inches total length (TL) minimum size limit; Recreational: 8 inches TL minimum size, 50 fish bag limit/day.
2012 Harvest Season – Commercial: January through April (Winter Period I) and November through December (Winter Period II) with trip limits established by ASMFC/MAFMC management (landings primarily north of Cape Hatteras). The summer period was closed due to the small allocation provided to North Carolina for this period. Recreational: year-round.
Size and Age at Maturity – 6.7 inches TL/2 years, both sexes
Historical and Current Maximum Age – 20 years/10 years
Juvenile Abundance Index – Not available
Habits and Habitats – Scup are found primarily between Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras, but are also caught in North Carolina waters south of Cape Hatteras. Juveniles live in a variety of habitats including rocky ledges, artificial reefs, silty-sand, shell, and mud bottoms and eelgrass. During the summer and early fall, juveniles and adults are common in large estuaries, open sandy bottoms, and structured habitats such as mussel beds, reefs, or rock rubble. Scup migrate north and inshore to spawn in the spring (May-August), then migrate south and offshore in autumn as the water cools, arriving by December in offshore areas where they spend the winter. Scup are generally landed by North Carolina commercial fisheries in January to April.
For more information, contact Tom Wadsworth at Tom.Wadsworth@ncdenr.gov or 252-808-8193.