New oyster harvest regulations going into effect this year lower the daily
commercial trip limit for Shellfish License holders.
Harvest of oysters by hand methods from public
water bottom will open at sunrise Oct. 15.
Those who hold appropriate commercial fishing licenses may harvest oysters
between sunrise and sunset, Monday through Friday each week.
For those fishing under a commercial Shellfish
License, the harvest limit will be reduced to two bushels per person, with a
maximum of four bushels per vessel. The daily hand harvest limits for Standard
Commercial Fishing License holders will remain unchanged, unless they are part
of a combined commercial operation with the Shellfish License holder.
If a Shellfish License holder is part of a
combined commercial operation with a Standard Commercial Fishing License holder,
the combined fishing operation will be limited to seven bushels per
The Marine Fisheries Commission adopted the
changes in February as part of Amendment 4 to
the Oyster Fishery Management Plan.
Possession limits for those who hold a standard
commercial fishing license with a shellfish endorsement differ between water
bodies. Fishermen should see Proclamation SF-4-2017 for specific regulations.
No license is required for hand harvest of oysters
for personal consumption, but the oysters may not be sold without a commercial
license. Recreational hand harvest is allowed sunrise to sunset seven days a
week. The harvest limit is one bushel of oysters per person per day or two
bushels per vessel per day if more than one person is on a boat.
The minimum size limit is 3-inches shell
Some waters may temporarily close to shellfish
harvesting due to high bacteria levels associated with rainfall and stormwater
runoff. Fishermen should check here
for shellfish closures. Fishermen should continue to
frequently check for shellfish closures throughout the year, particularly after
heavy rains. They may also call the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries at
252-726-7021 or 1-800-682-2632 to check for closures.