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Marine Fisheries Commission adopts changes in shad/black drum fisheries (I have edited this to cover black drum, spotted sea trout and sheepshead only)

MOREHEAD CITY – Action taken by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission last week will bring regulatory changes in the American shad and black drum fisheries in 2014.

The commission voted to shorten the American shad season in the Albemarle Sound/Roanoke River system. The commission also voted to implement recreational and commercial size and possession limits for black drum.

There are no size and possession limits on black drum in North Carolina, but an Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Interstate Fishery Management Plan requires states to implement black drum possession limits and a minimum size limit of at least 12 inches by Jan. 1, 2014 and at least 14 inches by Jan. 1, 2016. The commission voted to implement the following regulations:

14- to 25-inch total length slot size limit (but allow one fish longer than 25 inches total length to be kept)
10-fish recreational bag limit
500-pound commercial trip limit

In other business, the commission:

Approved a draft supplement to the Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan for a 60-day public comment period, from Nov. 18-Jan. 18. The draft supplement provides the commission with alternatives to stricter commercial and recreational spotted seatrout fishing regulations set to begin in February.

Adopted a slate of other rules that include giving the division director proclamation authority to set size, recreational bag, commercial trip, gear, season and time restrictions on the taking of sheepshead if needed to maintain a sustainable harvest…

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