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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - RecGuide mobile

Marine Fisheries

Explanation of Symbols

(A) Albemarle Sound Management Area: contact DMF for seasons, areas or other limits; Atlantic Ocean year-round: 1 per person per day at 28” TL minimum
Central Southern Management Area: 2 per person per day at 18” TL minimum in Coastal and Joint Waters except unlawful to possess between 22” – 27” TL in Joint Fishing Waters only. This includes hybrid bass.
Season: October through April, by proclamation. Moratorium in the Cape Fear River system.

(B) Limit of 10 per person per day or 60 per trip, whichever is less. On headboats, limit is 10 per person per day. No sale of recreational bag limit on vessels operating as charter or headboats.

(C) Unlawful to possess red drum greater than 27” TL. Unlawful to gig, spear, or gaff red drum. One black drum per person per day over 25” TL is allowed.

(D) For aggregate creel limits for American shad and hickory shad, see the most recent DMF proclamation. Unlawful to take or possess American shad from the Atlantic Ocean.

(E) Season open January 1 – August 31, except year round when taken by baited pots.

(F) Mature female crabs are exempt from minimum size limit. It is illegal to possess immature female crabs at any time and it is illegal to possess dark sponge crabs from April 1 – April 30.

(G) In state or federal waters, federal permit required for Highly Migratory Species, tunas, billfishes, swordfish and sharks (excluding Atlantic bonito, little tunny (false albacore), and blackfin tuna): https://hmspermits.noaa.gov/ 978-281-9370.

Prior to removal from vessel, all billfishes, swordfish and bluefin tuna must be reported at NC HMS reporting stations. DMF website for more details. For seasons, bag limits, size limits or closures for tunas, billfishes, and sharks contact NMFS Highly Migratory Species Division 800-894-5528.

(H) For seasons, bag limits and size limits on snapper, grouper, and mackerels contact the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council 843-571-4366 or www.safmc.net, and see the most recent Snapper Grouper recreational DMF proclamation at www.ncmarinefisheries.net

(I) Contact DMF or visit www.ncmarinefisheries.net for seasons, areas, or other restrictions. Oyster season October 15 – March 31 unless closed earlier by proclamation.

(J) Propodus (forearm) length is measured by a straight line from elbow to the tip of the lower immoveable finger. The propodus (forearm) is defined as the largest section of the claw assembly that has both a moveable and immovable finger and is located farthest from the body of the crab. Unlawful to possess stone crab bodies or fail to immediately return to the waters from which taken. Unlawful to use a device to take stone crabs that can puncture, crush, or injure the crab body, such as gigs, spears, grabs, hooks, or similar devices. Unlawful to remove, take or possess stone crab claws from June 15 through August 15 (no possession limit during open season).

(K) In accordance with N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03L .0302 it is unlawful to possess an egg bearing spiny lobster or a spiny lobster which eggs have been scrubbed or removed. It is unlawful to possess aboard a vessel or land detached spiny lobster tails, or to use a gaff hook, spear, or similar device to take spiny lobsters.

(L) The carapace is measured beginning at the forward edge between the rostral horns and eyes, excluding any soft tissue, and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace.

triangle so pretty  Size and creel limits for spotted seatrout, flounder, red drum and gray trout taken in inland waters are the same as the recreational limits for those species in adjacent joint and coastal waters.

Total length (TL) is measured from tip of snout with mouth closed to top of compressed tail. Fork length (FL) is measured from tip of snout to middle of fork in tail. Lower jaw fork length (LJFL) is measured from lower jaw to middle of fork in tail. Curved fork length (CFL) is the measurement of the length taken in a line tracing the contour of the body from the tip of the upper jaw to the fork of the tail. (Diagram)

Anglers cannot catch both a federal and state bag limit for the same species on the same trip.

Ocean boundary is defined as water seaward of the COLREGS Demarcation Lines as indicated on National Ocean Service navigation charts

No one may possess aboard a vessel or while engaged in fishing any fish subject to limits without head and tail attached, except for mullet when used for bait and hickory shad when used for bait provided not more than two fish per boat/operation may be cut at any one time – Reference 15A NCAC 3M .0101

IMPORTANT Check with Division of Marine Fisheries for most current minimum lengths and catch limits. 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632.

This document is a public record under chapter 132 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Anyone who alters, defaces, mutilates or destroys it shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction subject to fines.

THIS DOCUMENT IS EFFECTIVE JUNE 15, 2018 AND IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATIONAL , PURPOSES AND HAS NO LEGAL FORCE OR EFFECT. FISHERY RULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. THESE RESTRICTIONS APPLY TO FISH TAKEN FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES AND INCLUDE HOOK AND LINE. Updated State regulations can be found at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-fishing-size-and-bag-limits and updated Recreational Commercial Gear License information can be found at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-commercial-gear-license

For inland water limits contact Wildlife Resources Commission at 919-707-0220 or visit their website: www.ncwildlife.org

STATE AND FEDERAL REGULATIONS CAN ALSO BE FOUND AT www.FishRulesApp.com

(Updated 06/18/18)

Morehead City Office
(24 hours)
800-682-2632 or
252-726-7021
Elizabeth City Office
800-338-7805 or
252- 264-3911
Manteo Office
252- 473-5734
Pamlico Field Office
800-338-7804 or
252-946-6481
Wilmington Office
800-248-4536 or
910-796-7215
NMFS
(Fed. Reg.)
301-427-8505

 

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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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