state’s commercial fishing harvest continued in a three-year decreasing
trend in 2013; while the dockside value of that harvest increased for
the third straight year.
Commercial fishermen sold 50 million
pounds of fish and shellfish at North Carolina docks in 2013, a 12
percent decrease from 2012 and 21 percent less than the five-year
average, according to the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Trip
Ticket Program. However, the dockside value of the catch rose to $79
million, 9 percent higher than in 2012 and 4 percent higher than the
Recreational fishing harvest increased from
2012, but remained about the same as the five-year average and was
about 47 percent below what it was 10 years ago.
fishermen landed approximately 11.6 million fish, weighing about 13.3
million pounds in 2013, a 10 percent increase in pounds over 2012,
according to the division’s Coastal Angling Program.
blue crabs continued to top the list of the state’s commercial fishing
species, both in pounds harvested and in dockside value. Commercial
fishermen landed 21 million pounds of hard blue crabs in 2013, an 18
percent decrease from 2012 and 21 percent lower than the five-year
average. But the dockside value of hard blue crabs increased 31 percent
to $26.4 million in 2013.
Shrimp remained in the No. 2 spot with
landings of 4.9 million pounds and a dockside value of $13 million,
followed by spiny dogfish (3 million pounds and $302,248), southern
flounder (2.2 million pounds and $5.6 million) and Atlantic croaker
(1.9 million pounds and $1.7 million).
landings were at 22 million pounds in 2013, a 3 percent drop from 2012
and 21 percent lower than the five-year average.
croaker landings in large-mesh gill nets were down by 1.2 million
pounds, adding to a 38 percent reduction in the fishery from 2012.
Summer flounder landings dropped by 50 percent in 2013 due to a drop in
flounder trawl landings, likely attributable to navigation issues at
Bluefish landings increased by 53 percent due to increased landings in
large- and small-mesh gill nets in the ocean.
landings were at 28 million pounds, 17 percent lower than in 2012 and
20 percent below the five-year average. Much of the drop was
attributable to the decrease in blue crab and shrimp landings.
tuna topped the list of recreationally-harvested fish. Anglers reeled
in 2 million pounds of yellowfin tuna (62,110 fish) in 2013, a 28
percent increase from 2012.
Dolphin came in second with 2
million pounds (248,987 fish), followed by bluefish at 971,279 pounds
(1.2 million fish), red drum, 682,964 pounds (166,608 fish) and spotted
seatrout, 652,102 pounds (369,500).
The recreational red drum harvest was the highest on record in 2013 and
was a 187 percent increase in pounds landed from 2012.
spot landings doubled to 462,884 pounds (1.5 million fish) in 2013, but
still remained well below historic harvest levels.
harvest increased by 70 percent to 497,616 pounds (272,709 fish), and
southern flounder harvest increased 37 percent to 408,642 pounds
The number of fish angler’s released back into
the water grew to about 21 million in 2013, about a 13 percent increase
Recreational harvest trends are closely related to
recreational effort. The number of recreational fishing trips in 2013
dropped by 6 percent to about 5 million. This was a 4 percent decrease
from the five-year average, and about 28 percent fewer trips than 10
For a full landings report, click on the 2013 Annual Fisheries Bulletin
link at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/marine-fisheries-catch-statistics.
For more information, contact division License and Statistics Section
Chief Don Hesselman at 252-808-8099 or [email protected].