MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) – New flounder season regulations announced by the the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries will impact fishermen across the state.
The recreational flounder season will be throughout the month of September. Anglers will now be limited to one fish per person per day. The restriction is meant to help recover the southern flounder stock.
Recent stock assessments show overfishing has been a problem across the state and officials the changes will solve that.
“What we’re trying to do is basically keep the recreational harvest of the fish to within the quota that’s been set and our most recent amendment to the fishery management plan,” said Patricia Smith, public information officer for the Division of Marine Fisheries.
The Coastal Conservation Association said overfishing has been an issue for decades.
Executive Director David Sneed said the CCA filed a lawsuit against the state for not acknowledging the issue earlier.
He said it’s hard to say if the new regulations will help.
“I’m not sure that they’ve done enough to actually meet the goals,” said Sneed. “The statutory goals are to end overfishing in two years, and have a sustainable stock in 10 years.”
Stuart Creighton, a fisherman from Oriental, said he thinks other species of fish will see a decline and less people will be visiting the coast to fish this year.
“With the reduction down to just one fish per person per day, you certainly will see a dramatically reduced effort on fishing for flounder,” said Creighton.
Creighton said he’ll continue to fish, whether he catches flounder or not.
As for commercial flounder, the fishing season dates have yet to be announced.
To find all the information on the flounder fishing season this year, click here.