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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 30 Spot SSR 2012

Marine Fisheries

Spot

Spot - 2012

Stock Status – Concern – Commercial landings and effort have generally been decreasing in the major fisheries. This decrease accelerated in 2006 and 2007 and 2010 showed a historical low. Commercial catches in 2011 increased 64% from 2010. Catch per unit effort in the inshore gill net and offshore gillnet fisheries increased in 2011 relative to 2010. The catch per unit effort in the long haul fishery decreased in 2011 relative to 2010. The juvenile abundance index decreased in 2011. Recreational landings increased 58% from a historical low in 2010. The mean catch per angler trip also increased. Spot has historically been the primary coastal catch, by number, for recreational fishermen in North Carolina, however it dropped to third (behind bluefish and kingfishes) in 2010. In 2011, spot was once again the primary coastal catch by number and was sixth by weight.

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2002-2011 – 1,375,516 lbs./$759,441

2011 Commercial Landings and Value – 936,966 lbs./$728,472

Average Recreational Landings 2002-2011 – 925,932 lbs., 2011 – 411,243 lbs.

Average Number of Award Citations (1 lb.) 2002-2011 – 49, 2011 – 0

Status of Fishery Management Plan (FMP) – In North Carolina, spot is currently included in the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Management Plan, which defers to Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) FMP compliance requirements. An ASMFC Spot FMP was approved in 1987. Beginning in 2007, the Spot Plan Review Team (PRT) compiled and analyzed available fishery-dependent and fishery-independent data from the species’ core area (Maryland-South Carolina) to develop relative spot abundance indices. In 2010, ASMFC also developed a life history report that could provide necessary data for a stock assessment.

In 2011, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approved the Omnibus Amendment for spot, spotted seatrout, and Spanish mackerel. The Amendment updates all three plans with requirements under the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (1993) and the Interstate Fishery Management Program Charter (1995). The updates to the plans include commercial and recreational management measures and recommendations, adaptive management options, de minimis thresholds and exemptions, and monitoring recommendations. The Omnibus Amendment includes a management trigger for spot, which will help the Board in monitoring the status of the stock until a full coastwide stock assessment can be completed. Coupled with adaptive management measures, the Omnibus Amendment will provide options to efficiently implement management measures should the Board determine that such measures are needed in the future.

Research and Data Needs – Coastwide stock assessment analysis, migration studies (tagging), and maturity and fecundity studies

Current Regulations – None

Harvest Season – Year round

Size and Age at Maturity – 7-8 inches total length/1–2 years

Historical and Current Maximum Age – 6 years

Juvenile Abundance Index 2002-2011 – 416, 2011 – 377

Habits and Habitats – Spot are short-lived estuarine dependent members of the drum family, that include Atlantic croaker, red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, and weakfish. Spot spawn in the ocean from late fall to early spring. Wind and currents carry the young into the upper reaches of the estuaries where they remain throughout the spring. Adult spot migrate seasonally between estuarine and near-shore ocean waters but are rarely found in the upper reaches of the estuary. Spot are most susceptible to commercial and recreational fishing activity during the fall when schools migrate from estuarine to oceanic waters.

For more information, email Kevin Brown at Kevin.H.Brown@ncdenr.gov or call 800-682-2632 or 252-808-8089.

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

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