Tuesday, July 5, 2011

North Carolina Declares Summer Flounder Stocks Viable

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has classified summer flounder stocks as “viable” in its 2011 Stock Status Report.

Summer flounder had been listed as “recovering” since 2009, and according to the latest assessment by the National Marine Fisheries Service Northeast Science Center the stock is no longer overfished and overfishing is not occurring. Fishing mortality has steadily decreased and the stock has generally increased since the early 1990s.

Summer flounder is managed under a joint Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission/Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council fishery management plan. Management measures include commercial quotas, minimum mesh sizes for trawls, minimum fish size limits, recreational bag limits and a moratorium on new entrants into the commercial fishery.

The division annually grades the status of marine finfish, shellfish, shrimp and crabs as either viable, recovering, concern, depleted or unknown. The grades serve as a barometer of the overall health of the state’s fishery resources, and they are used to prioritize development of fishery management plans.

A stock is considered “viable” when it exhibits stable or increasing trends in a number of biological factors associated with healthy populations, such as a normal distribution of sizes, ages and spawning-age females or when it has met biological targets for sustainable harvest.

source: N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries

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