Media Contact: Nancy Fish
202-726-7021 or 800-682-2632
Immediate Release: May 6, 2002


MOREHEAD CITY - Good news is on the horizon for anglers in Onslow, Pender, New  Hanover and Brunswick counties - the recreational season for ocean-caught flounder  will reopen from the New River Inlet to the South Carolina state line on Wednesday,  May 8 at 10 a.m.

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) closed all ocean waters  along the coast to the harvest of recreationally caught flounder from April 3  - July 4, in order to meet harvest reduction goals set by the National Marine  Fisheries Service and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, in conjunction  with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Another closure period  will occur in the late fall.

The closure was implemented because the 2001 recreational catch along the Atlantic  seaboard exceeded the summer flounder harvest target by 5 million pounds. Summer  flounder harvest is limited because the stock is considered overfished along  the East Coast. North Carolina is required to reduce its recreational summer  flounder landings in 2002 by 32.2 percent.

After carefully re-examining recreational landings data, the DMF determined summer  flounder harvested in the southern portion of the state's ocean waters during  the closure period would have no meaningful impact on meeting the harvest reduction  goals. North Carolina is the southernmost range for summer flounder, with most  of these fish being harvested above Bogue Inlet.

Recreational fishermen will be allowed to keep up to eight flounder per day caught  in the ocean at 15.5 inches or larger, from New River Inlet to the South Carolina  state line, when the closure is lifted May 8. Fishermen are still able to catch  flounder in the state's sounds, bays and other internal waters.

For more information, please call Rick Monaghan at 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632. 
Visit the DMF's Web site at http://www.ncdmf.net/recreational/flounfacts.html
to learn more about the recreational ocean closure for flounder.


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