MOREHEAD CITY - The size limit for summer or ocean-caught flounder will increase from 15 inches to 15 ½ inches, effective April 25, according to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF). In addition, a season closure for the popular fish in the Atlantic Ocean, will be in effect from May 1 - May 14. The 8-fish-per-day bag limit remains unchanged.
Tighter restrictions come on the heels of a recent agreement by the AtlanticStates Marine Fisheries Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service to reduce east coast recreational summer flounder landings by 41 percent. For the last five years, recreational fishermen along the Atlantic seaboard have exceeded their harvest target by 22 million pounds.
Each state will have to make harvest reductions based on past landings. Decreasesrange from 57 percent for Rhode Island to 4 percent for Virginia - North Carolina will have to reduce its recreational summer flounder landings by 32 percent.
After reviewing a number of options and giving serious consideration to a two-monthseason closure, which offered the simplest solution to the problem, DMF Director Pres Pate decided on the revised size limit and a shorter harvest closure. "Ocean-caught flounder is such an important recreational species, not only to anglers, but to piers, tackle shops and charters,"said Pate, "I decided it was more important to have the opportunity to catch the fish - even at an increased size limit. Still, a short season closure was necessary to reach the 32 percentharvest reduction."
The size limit for southern flounder, which is another species of flounder caughtprimarily in the state's sounds, bays and other internal waters, remains unchanged at 13 inches.
For more information flounder, please contact Rick Monaghan by e-mail at Rick.Monaghan@ncmail.netor by calling 1-800-682-2632 or 252-726-7021.