New recreational bag limits for spot and Atlantic croaker will take effect 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. It will apply to fishing recreationally with hook-and-line and other gears.
The commercial fishery for spot will close from Dec. 10 through Apr. 4, and the commercial Atlantic croaker season will close from Dec. 16 through 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 both 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 http://ncmarinefisheries.net/proclamations. Proclamations for the commercial fishery season closures will be issued later this year.
For questions, contact Chris Batsavage at 252-241-2995 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov.