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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

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

Marine Fisheries

surf fisher

Current Version Effective: March 1, 2018
(Website chart reflects the most recent changes to size and bag limits)

CLICK HERE for printer-friendly PDF version

Download the Fish Rules mobile app

Recreational Size and Creel Limits — mobile device format

Coastal Recreational Fishing License: Persons engaged in recreational fishing in North Carolina coastal waters are required to possess a Coastal Recreational Fishing License in accordance with G.S. 113-174.2

See also: Fish Identification | Recreational Fishing Reports | Why do we have fishing regulations?


For inland fishing regulations, contact Wildlife Resources Commission 919-707-0220 or visit their website www.ncwildlife.org

 

STATE of N.C.
COASTAL WATERS

(Internal and 0-3 miles)

FEDERAL
MANAGEMENT INFORMATION

FINFISH SPECIES
(note symbols)

N.C. Minimum Length

N.C. Bag Limits
(per person)

 

Bluefish

None

15/Day, only 5 greater than 24” TL

Federal Management Information:
https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.
noaa.gov/sustainable/species/
bluefish/index.html

Cobia

UNLAWFUL TO POSSESS

Federal Management Information:
http://safmc.net/regulations/

Wahoo

None

2/Day

Dolphin (B)

None

10/Day

King Mackerel (H)

24” FL

3/Day

Spanish Mackerel (H)

12” FL

15/Day

Tuna: Bluefin, Bigeye and Yellowfin (G)

Bigeye and Yellowfin tuna
27” Curved FL

Yellowfin tuna
3/Day

Federal Management Information:
https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/topic/
atlantic-highly-migratory-species

Smoothhounds, Smooth Dogfish and Spiny Dogfish

None

None

Federal Management Information:
https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.
noaa.gov/sustainable/species
/sdogfish/index.html

Sharks (G)

See most recent DMF proclamation: http://www.ncmarinefisheries.
net /web/mf/proclamations

Federal Management Information:
https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/topic/
atlantic-highly-migratory-species

Blue Marlin (G)

99” LJFL

1 per vessel per trip, either blue marlin or white marlin

White Marlin (G)

66” LJFL

Sailfish (G)

63” LJFL

1/Day

Red Drum
(Channel Bass, Puppy Drum)

  (C)  triangle so pretty

18” – 27” TL

1/Day

Federal Management Information:
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/
CFR-2017-title50-vol13/pdf/CFR-2017-
title50 -vol13-sec697-7.pdf

Flounder 
triangle so pretty

15” TL

4/Day

Federal Management Information:
https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.
noaa.gov/sustainable/recfishing/
regs/index.html

Spotted Seatrout (Speckled Trout)
triangle so pretty

UNLAWFUL TO POSSESS

No Federal Regulations

Weakfish
(Gray Trout) 
triangle so pretty

12” TL

1/Day

Federal Management Information:
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/
CFR-2017-title50-vol13/pdf/CFR-2017-
title50-vol13-sec697-7.pdf

Sheepshead

10” FL

10/Day

No Federal Regulations

Black Drum (C)

14” – 25” TL

10/Day

No Federal Regulations

Tarpon

None

1/Day

No Federal Regulations

Striped Bass

(A)

(A)

Federal Management Information:
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/
CFR-2017-title50-vol13/pdf/CFR-2017-
title50-vol13-sec697-7.pdf

American Shad (D)

None

(D)

No Federal Regulations

Hickory Shad (D)

None

(D)

No Federal Regulations

Alewife and Blueback Herring

UNLAWFUL TO POSSESS

No Federal Regulations

American Eel (E)

9” TL

25/Day

No Federal Regulations

Scup
(North of Cape Hatteras only)

8” TL

50/Day

Federal Management Information:
https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.
noaa.gov/sustainable/recfishing
/regs/index.html

Black Sea Bass
(North of Cape Hatteras)

UNLAWFUL TO POSSESS

Federal Management Information:
https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.
noaa.gov/sustainable/recfishing/
regs/index.html

Snappers, Groupers, Porgys, Triggerfish, Jacks, Tilefish, Grunts, Spadefishes, Wrasses and Sea Basses (H)

See the most recent Snapper/Grouper Complex recreational DMF
proclamation at
http://www.ncmarinefisheries.
net /web /mf/proclamations

Federal Management Information:
http://safmc.net/regulations/

Mullet
(striped and white)

200/Day (species combined)

No Federal Regulations

PROHIBITED FINFISH SPECIES

COASTAL WATERS (Internal waters and Atlantic Ocean out to 3 miles)

Sharks: whale, basking, white, sand tiger, bigeye sand tiger, Atlantic angel shark, bigeye sixgill, bigeye thresher, bignose, Caribbean reef, Caribbean sharpnose, dusky, Galapagos, longfin mako, narrowtooth, night, sandbar, silky, sevengill, sixgill, and smalltail. Other finfish: sturgeon, Nassau grouper, Goliath grouper (jewfish), Warsaw grouper, speckled hind and red snapper.

Pages: 1  2  

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

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