Black Drum - 2013
Stock Status – Unknown – A stock assessment has not been completed for black drum. Concern for the stock has been expressed coast wide because fishing effort has increased on the stock since the 1980s and a majority of black drum harvested is young, potentially juvenile fish. Commercial landings increased by 69% in 2012 as compared to 2011; however, they remained below the ten-year average. In 2012, recreational landings were above the ten-year average; increasing 60% as compared to 2011.
Average Commercial Landings and Value 2003-2012 – 120,028 lbs./$43,445
2012 Commercial Landings and Value – 94,346 lbs./$54,118
Average Recreational Landings 2003-2012 – 236,817 lbs. 2012 – 242,551 lbs.
Average Number of Award Citations (35 lbs. / 40 in.) 2003-2012 – 15, 2012 – 12 (9 kept, 3 released)
Status of Fishery Management Plan (FMP) – In November of 2011, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to initiate the FMP and a stock assessment concurrently. In October of 2012, the management board approved the draft FMP for public comment and approved the final FMP in May 2013. The stock assessment is expected to be completed in early 2014. All states are required to implement minimum standards by 1 January 2014.
Research and Data Needs – Coast-wide stock assessment, collect ageing structures, migration studies (tagging), update or conduct research on age, growth, maturity, and fecundity
2012 Regulations – None
Harvest Season – Year round
Size and Age at Maturity – Females mature at 4-6 years (25-28 inches), Males at 3-4 years (22-25 inches)
Historical and Current Maximum Age – 60+ years
Juvenile Abundance Index – None
Habits and Habitats – Black drum can be typically found along the nearshore waters of the western Atlantic from the Gulf of Maine to Florida, as well as the Gulf of Mexico. In North Carolina, juveniles can be found throughout the estuarine waters, while adults tend to congregate around structure including bridge and dock pilings. Along the Atlantic coast, black drum are thought to migrate northward and inshore each spring and southward and offshore by the late fall. They are primarily bottom feeders; juvenile diets consist mainly of small fish and invertebrates while the adult diet consists primarily of mollusks and crustaceans.
For more information, contact Chris Stewart at Chris.Stewart@ncdenr.gov or 910-796-7370.