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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 30 Spot SSR 2016

Marine Fisheries

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Spot

Spot — 2016

Stock Status Concern – In order to evaluate the status of the stock until the stock assessment is completed or in between future stock assessments, the Traffic Light Analysis established under Addendum I was reviewed.  The composite harvest index did not trip in 2013-2014 with a mean red proportion of 29.4%.  The index did trip in 2013 (38.1%) and 2012 (34.8%).  The decline in the harvest index was driven primarily by declining commercial landings rather than declining recreational harvest.  The composite abundance index for adult spot (NMFS and SEAMAP surveys) did trigger in 2014 with a mean red proportion for 2013-2014 or 43.5%.  Since both population characteristics (harvest and abundance) were not above the 30% threshold for 2013-2014, management triggers were not tripped.  The first benchmark stock assessment for spot is scheduled for completion in late 2016.  

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2006-2015 789,794 lbs./$587,816

2015 Commercial Landings and Value – 377,358 lbs./$323,188

Average Recreational Landings 2006-2015 – 553,837 lbs., 2015 – 395,268 lbs.

Average Number of Award Citations (1 lb.) 2006-2015 – 2.7, 2015 – 0

Status of Fishery Management Plan (FMP) – In North Carolina, spot is included in the Interjurisdictional Fishery Management Plan, which defers to Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) FMP compliance requirements. An ASMFC Spot FMP was approved in 1987.

In 2011, the ASMFC approved the Omnibus Amendment for spot, spotted seatrout, and Spanish mackerel. The Omnibus Amendment updated 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 included a management trigger for spot using relative abundance indices, to monitor the status of the stock until a full coast-wide stock assessment can be completed. Coupled with adaptive management measures, the Omnibus Amendment provided options to efficiently implement management measures should the management board determine such measures are needed in the future.

In August 2014 Addendum I was approved for spot to employ the Traffic Light Approach in order to better manage this species. The Traffic Light Approach will be reviewed annually to evaluate fisheries trends and, if necessary, develop state-specified management actions (e.g. bag limits, size restrictions, time and area closures, and gear restrictions) when harvest and abundance thresholds are exceeded for two consecutive years. The ASMFC management area extends from Delaware to the east coast of Florida. A benchmark stock assessment is scheduled for completion in late 2016.

Research and Data Needs – Coast-wide stock assessment analysis, migration studies (tagging), and maturity and fecundity studies.

2015 Regulations – None

Harvest Season – Year round

Size and Age at Maturity 7-8 inches TL/1-2 years

Maximum Age – 6 years

Juvenile Abundance Index 2006-2015 – Pamlico Sound Survey (June) 600, 2015 405

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, contact Daniel Zapf at Daniel.Zapf@ncdenr.gov or 800-338-7804 or 252-948-3875.

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

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