Summer flounder’s new status reduces allowable catch

By on July 6, 2016

Summer flounder are also known as fluke. (JennettesPier.net)

The stock status of most coastal fish did not change in the 2016 N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Stock Status Report, but one species was reclassified from the 2015 report.

Summer flounder moved from “viable” to “concern” based on a 2015 National Marine Fisheries Service Northeast Fisheries Science Center benchmark stock assessment for U.S. waters north of Cape Hatteras.

The assessment indicated the stock of summer flounder was not overfished but overfishing was occurring, according to a NCDMF news release.

As a result of the stock assessment, federal fisheries authorities lowered the allowable biological catch by 29 percent, which lowered the state-by-state commercial quotas proportionately. North Carolina receives the highest commercial quota share at 27.4 percent.

The division annually classifies the status of important marine finfish, shellfish, shrimp and crabs as viable, recovering, concern, depleted or unknown.

The annual classifications are based on biological and statistical data from the prior year and serve as a barometer of the overall health of the state’s fishery resources, and are used to prioritize development of state fishery management plans, according to NCDMF.

New this year, the online table that summarizes the report includes information about which fisheries management authorities manage the stock in parenthesis under each species name.

The complete 2016 Stock Status Report can be found on the at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/stock-status-reports.

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