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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

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, 2019. A proclamation was issued to reopen the commercial flounder season Sept. 15, 2019 and the season closed per the same proclamation. By proclamation, the 2020 commercial southern flounder season will open and close per the dates below. The minimum size limit will remain at 15 inches total length. Click here to go to the proclamations page.

  • Sept. 15 to Oct. 6 in the Northern Management Area, which includes Albemarle, Roanoke, and Croatan sounds and their tributaries;
  • Oct. 1 to Oct. 19 in the Central Management Area, which includes Pamlico Sound, and the Tar, Pamlico, Neuse, and Pungo rivers and their tributaries;
  • Oct. 1 to Nov. 2 in the Southern Management Area, which includes Core Sound and all internal coastal waters from Core Sound south to the North Carolina/South Carolina border.

The 2020 recreational flounder season will be Aug. 16 through Sept. 30 for internal and ocean waters of the state. The minimum size limit will remain at 15 inches total length, and the creel limit will remain at four fish per person per day during the open recreational season. Since all species of flounder are managed under the same recreational regulations, the recreational season applies to all recreational flounder fishing. 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.

2020 commercial flounder season announced
(June 15, 2020)
2020 recreational flounder season announced
(Feb. 25, 2020)
Marine Fisheries Commission approves flounder season closure, denies petition for rulemaking
(Aug. 28, 2019)
Southern Flounder FMP Amendment 2 Summary
(Sept. 2019)
Southern Flounder FMP Amendment 2
(Sept. 23, 2019)

Amendment 3 Workshop

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries held a Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan advisory committee workshop over several days to review draft Amendment 3 to the plan. The purpose of this workshop was to further develop draft Amendment 3.

Workshop dates were scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on October 8, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. October 14, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. October 15, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. October 19 and, if needed, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. October 22. The group concluded its work and the October 22 workshop was not needed. The workshop was open to the public to observe, but public comment was not accepted.

The advisory committee assists the division by providing input for consideration to refine management options in draft Amendment 3. Workshop-style meetings allow scientists, managers, and stakeholders to address questions, comments, and concerns more effectively and in a less formal setting. Based on the outcome of the workshop, the division will present a revised draft of Amendment 3 to the Marine Fisheries Commission in 2021.

News Release
(Oct. 2, 2020)
Agendas for these meeting
(October 2020)
Workshop Documents
(October 2020)

 

Amendment 3 Scoping Period

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries held a public scoping period in December 2019 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. A scoping document outlining the potential management strategies was developed for the public. Fisheries stakeholders provided comments throughout the scoping period.

Scoping Document: Management Strategies for Amendment 3
(Feb. 2020)

Public Comment has Closed

 

 

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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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