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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Spot - stock status report

Marine Fisheries

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Spot

Spot

Stock Status – Concern – Commercial landings and effort have generally been decreasing in the major fisheries. This decrease accelerated in 2006 and 2007, while 2008 and 2009 showed a slight increase; however, 2010 showed a historical low. Commercial catches in 2010 were down 43% from 2009. Catch per unit effort in the inshore gill net and offshore gillnet fisheries increased in 2010 relative to 2009. The catch per unit effort in the long haul fishery increased in 2010 relative to 2009. The juvenile abundance index increased in 2010. Recreational landings decreased 27% from the 2009 level to a new historical low in 2010. The mean catch per angler trip also decreased. 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.

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2001-2010 – 1,591,281 lbs./$814,473

2010 Commercial Landings and Value – 572,315 lbs./$384,386

Average Recreational Landings 2001-2010 – 1,130,944 lbs., 2010 – 292,738 lbs.

Average Number of Award Citations (1 lb.) 2001-2010 – 73, 2010 – 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.

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 2001-2010 – 400, 2010 – 568

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 Kevin Brown at Kevin.H.Brown@ncdenr.gov or 1-800-682-2632 or (252) 808-8089.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • (252) 726-7021 or 1-800-682-2632

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