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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Southern Flounder Topic

Marine Fisheries

Information on Southern Flounder Amendment

Contact: Michael Loeffler or Anne Markwith

Stock Assessment Amendment 2 Amendment 3 Scoping Period
Beginning Dec. 4, click here to provide public comments for the Amendment 3 scoping period.

Stock Assessment
The most recent coast-wide (North Carolina to the east coast of Florida) stock assessment for Southern Flounder determined the stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring. A minimum 52% reduction in total removals is needed to rebuild the female spawning stock biomass to sustainable levels and end the overfished status within 10 years. Management in Amendment 2 called for a 62% reduction in 2019 and 72% reduction beginning in 2020 until Amendment 3 is adopted.

It is important to note that management measures in Amendment 3 will be based on the 2019 stock assessment, meaning a minimum of 52% reduction in total removals starting in 2021 is still needed to rebuild the spawning stock biomass within 10 years.

Stock Assessment of Southern Flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma) in the South Atlantic, 1989-2017
(Jan. 2019)
Stock Assessment and Projections of Southern Flounder in the South Atlantic Presentation
(June 2019)
Amendment 2
On Aug. 23, 2019, the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission adopted the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 as proposed by the Division of Marine Fisheries, giving the director of the Division of Marine Fisheries flexibility with the commercial and recreational seasons so long as they meet the statutorily required harvest reductions.

The Division of Marine Fisheries issued proclamations that closed the commercial and recreational seasons on Sept. 4. A proclamation was issued to reopen the commercial flounder season Sept. 15 and the season closes per the same proclamation. The recreational fishery will re-open by proclamation on a date in 2020 not yet determined. Click here to go to the proclamations page.

Amendment 2 contained short-term management measures (seasons) that meet the statutory requirements; however, the approval of Amendment 2 specified the development of Amendment 3 to begin immediately to implement more comprehensive, long-term management measures to achieve sustainable harvest.

Marine Fisheries Commission approves flounder season closure, denies petition for rulemaking
(Aug. 28, 2019)
Southern Flounder FMP Amendment 2 Summary
(Sept. 2019)
Draft Southern Flounder FMP Amendment 2
(June 7, 2019)

Amendment 3 Scoping Period
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a public scoping period Dec. 4-18 to solicit public comments on potential management strategies for Amendment 3. The primary management strategy for Amendment 3 is long-term sustainable harvest in the southern flounder fishery.

Fisheries stakeholders can provide in-person comments at two scoping meetings that will be held:

Dec. 9 at 6 p.m.
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries
Central District Office
5285 Highway 70 West, Morehead City
Dec. 17 at 6 p.m.
Dare County Government Complex
Commissioners Meeting Room
954 Marshall C. Collins Dr., Manteo

Beginning Dec. 4, comments can also be submitted through the division's website through an online form or by mail. A news release will be issued closer to the scoping period providing details on how the public can participate. A scoping document outlining the potential management strategies has been developed for the public.

Division of Marine Fisheries announces scoping period on southern flounder
(Nov. 7, 2019)
Scoping Document: Management Strategies for Amendment 3
(Nov. 2019)

Beginning Dec. 4, click here to provide public comments for the Amendment 3 scoping period.
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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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