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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - nr-74-2017

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate   
Date: December 28, 2017   
Contact: Steve Poland
Phone: 252-726-7021

Fisheries ask public to report cold stunned trout

8-point rule

 


MOREHEAD CITY —
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries wants to remind the public to report any cold stunned trout they may see in North Carolina coastal waters.

During the winter, spotted seatrout move to deeper, warmer waters in coastal creeks, bays and ocean. Cold stuns occur when there is a sudden drop in water temperature or prolonged periods of cold weather that makes the fish so sluggish that humans can harvest them with their hands.

Many fish die will die from the cold. Others fall prey to birds and other predators. Studies suggest that cold stun events can have a significant impact on spotted seatrout populations.

No cold stun events have been reported yet this year, but conditions are such that one or more could occur in coastal creeks and bays.

Anyone seeing a trout cold stun event should report it to the N.C. Marine Patrol at 800-682-2632 or to division spotted seatrout biologist Steve Poland at 252-808-8159 or Steve.Poland@ncdenr.gov.

Under the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan, if a significant cold stun event occurs, the Division of Marine Fisheries will close all spotted seatrout harvest until the spring. The intent of the closure is to allow the fish that survive the cold stun event the chance to spawn in this spring before harvest re-opens. Peak spawning occurs in May.

Under N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission rules, the spotted seatrout season automatically closes in inland waters when it closes in adjacent coastal waters.

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

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