Date: April 14, 2014
Contact: Patricia Smith
Spring/Summer Commercial Red Drum Season Will Not Open
MOREHEAD CITY — The spring/summer commercial fishing season for red drum will not open this year because the annual harvest limit was exceeded in the fall/winter season.
Preliminary calculations of commercial red drum landings between Sept. 1 and Nov. 23 totaled 260,866 pounds, exceeding the annual harvest limit by 10,866 pounds.
“While this was a very strong year for red drum, the extraordinary level of harvest during this short period was unexpected,” said Louis Daniel, director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. “We are currently analyzing the fisheries data to determine what management changes may be needed to avoid this occurrence in the future.”
Fishery management plans adopted by both the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission require the commercial fishery to close once the annual harvest limit is exceeded. Overages in the 250,000-pound harvest limit must be deducted from the subsequent year’s harvest limit.
The state’s Red Drum plan splits the state’s commercial red drum harvest into two seasons. A Sept. 1- April 30 season is allocated 150,000 pounds of the annual harvest limit, and a May 1-Aug. 31 season is allocated 100,000 pounds.
The division closed the 2013 fall/winter season Nov. 23 after calculations just from electronically-submitted trip tickets showed fishermen had caught 144,258 pounds of the 150,000-pound harvest limit. Later calculations included landings reported on paper trip tickets and showed the fall fishery had exceeded the entire annual harvest limit.
The commercial red drum fishery will re-open Sept. 1 with an adjusted harvest limit. The Marine Fisheries Commission will discuss how to deduct the overages from the 2014-2015 seasons at its May meeting.
For more information, contact division biologist Lee Paramore at 252-473-5734, extension 222 or Lee.Paramore@ncdenr.gov.