MOREHEAD CITY — Recreational fishermen in Carteret County and elsewhere along the North Carolina coast have new bag limits coming for spot and croaker.
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries announced March 30 new recreational bag limits for spot and Atlantic croaker will take effect Thursday, April 15, and commercial spot and Atlantic croaker seasons will close beginning in December.
The new recreational bag limit will be 50 fish per person per day for each species. Neither species has an existing bag limit. It will apply to fishing recreationally with hook-and-line and other gears.
The commercial fishery for spot will close from Friday, Dec. 10 through Monday, April 4, 2022. The commercial Atlantic croaker season will close from Thursday, Dec. 16 through Friday, Dec. 31.
The regulations comply with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission spot and Atlantic croaker fishery management plans. The stock status of both species is monitored by an adaptive management system, known as a traffic light analysis, which uses stock indicators to track relative abundance compared to a set of reference years.
The latest traffic light analyses for spot and Atlantic croaker indicate a moderate level of concern. This requires the 50-fish bag limit for the recreational fishery and a 1% reduction in commercial landings from the 10-year average for each state from New Jersey to Florida that has substantial spot and Atlantic croaker landings and does not already have regulations in place.
These management measures will remain in effect for at least two years for spot and at least three years for Atlantic croaker. Future traffic light analyses for each species will determine what regulations are required after that.
For more specific information on the recreational regulations for spot and Atlantic croaker, see proclamations FF-23-2021 and FF-24-2021 at the website ncmarinefisheries.net/proclamations. Proclamations for the commercial fishery season closures will be issued later this year.