North Carolina recreational anglers harvested an estimated 12 million pounds of finfish (8.1 million fish) in 2012, a 9 percent decrease from 2011. During the same period, anglers released an estimated 18.5 million fish, according to the North Carolina Coastal Angling Program.
Dolphinfish topped of the list of recreationally harvested fish. Anglers harvested 2.6 million pounds of dolphinfish (327,042 fish) in 2012, a 27.8 percent decrease from 2011.
Yellowfin tuna took the No. 2 spot with landings of 1.6 million pounds (57,085 fish), followed by bluefish at 1 million pounds (888,852 fish), wahoo at 854,361 million pounds (30,877 fish) and spotted seatrout at 817,445 pounds (500,518 fish).
The number of spotted seatrout landed in 2012 was 131 percent higher than in 2011, possibly due to a mild winter that did not cause any cold stun events and provided for a winter fishing season that extended well into the spring.
The number of red drum releases hit 1.5 million in 2012, three times higher than the highest ever seen in North Carolina. Additional data from N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries monitoring programs that have noted record numbers of juvenile red drum over the past several years.
While the number of recreational fishing trips increased by 11.9 percent to 5.3 million in 2012, recreational fishing effort is still well below the nearly 7 million fishing trips made in 2008, prior to the nation’s economic downturn.
For-hire fishing trips have fallen from a high of 300,000 in 1996 to 140,648 in 2012.
For a full landings report, visit http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/marine-fisheries-catch-statistics
source: N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources