Public comment sought on spotted seatrout management measures
MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is accepting public comment until Jan. 18. on a draft supplement to the Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan.
The draft supplement provides the Marine Fisheries Commission with alternatives to implementing stricter commercial and recreational spotted seatrout fishing regulations set to begin in February. It was developed to address a commission vote in August to keep the current commercial and recreational size, bag and trip limits for spotted seatrout – action that requires a change in the fishery management plan.
Under the current fishery management plan, the existing regulations are14-inch minimum size limit, four-fish recreational bag limit, 75-fish commercial trip limit and weekend commercial closure (except in Albemarle and Currituck sounds) . In February, the daily recreational bag limit will drop to three fish per person, with a Dec. 15-Jan. 31 recreational closure, and the commercial trip limit will reduce to 25 fish, with no commercial closures if the draft supplement is not adopted.
The draft supplement examines the reasons for not implementing the stricter management measures and provides the commission with the option of maintaining the existing regulations.
The draft supplement also provides the commission the option of implementing less stringent regulations that keep the 14-inch minimum size limit but increases the recreational bag limit to a six-fish (with no more than two of the six fish greater than 24 inches). This option would eliminate the commercial trip limit but keeps the provision for no commercial possession or sale on weekends (except licensed finfish dealers).
Written comments should be sent to Chip Collier, 127 Cardinal Drive, Wilmington, N.C. 28405 or Chip.Collier@ncdenr.gov.
Draft Supplement A to the Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan can be found online at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/fmps-under-development.
For more information, contact Collier at 910-796-7291 or Chip.Collier@ncdenr.gov.