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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 39 Black Drum SSR 2014

Marine Fisheries

Black drum

Black Drum - 2014

Stock Status – Unknown– A stock assessment has not been completed for black drum. Concern for the stock has been expressed coastwide 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 35% in 2013 as compared to 2012. In 2013, recreational landings were well above the ten year average; increasing 167% as compared to 2012.

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2004-2013 – 117,850 lbs./$47,738

2013 Commercial Landings and Value – 127,003 lbs./$79,377

Average Recreational Landings 2004-2013 – 266,566 lbs., 2013 – 651,118 lbs.

Average Number of Award Citations (35 lbs./40 in.) 2004-2013 – 11, 2013 – 8 (5 kept, 3 released)

Status of Fishery Management Plan (FMP) – In North Carolina, black drum are included in the Interjurisdictional FMP, which defers to Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) FMP compliance requirements. In May 2013, the ASMFC adopted the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Black Drum and required all states to maintain their current regulations for black drum and implement a maximum possession limit and minimum size limit (of no less than 12 inches) by January 1, 2014. States were also required to further increase the minimum size limit (to no less than 14 inches) by January 1, 2016. In response to the ASMFC request, the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission implemented a 14- to 25-inch total length slot size limit (with one fish over 25 inches); 10-fish recreational bag limit and a 500-pound commercial trip limit effective January 1, 2014. In February 2014, the Technical Committee met to finalize the data to be used in the upcoming coastwide benchmark stock assessment in 2014. Following the review of the stock assessment and public comment, the ASMFC may further specify additional management measures to be included in the plan to address future concerns or changes in the fishery or population.

Research and Data Needs – Coastwide stock assessment, collect of ageing structures, migration studies (tagging), update or conduct research on age, growth, maturity, and fecundity

2013 Regulations – 14- to 25-inch total length slot size limit (except one fish longer than 25 inches total length may be kept), 10-fish recreational bag limit, and a 500-pound commercial trip limit

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 – Not Available

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. Juveniles can be found throughout the estuarine waters of North Carolina, 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 of 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.

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

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