The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission moved toward temporary management measures for southern flounder at its February meeting. The commission also voted to pursue a supplement to the N.C. Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan to reduce the catch of southern flounder by between 25 percent and 60 percent. The division will present options to the commission on ways to do this at its May meeting.
The action followed a report on a draft 2014 N.C. Southern Flounder Stock Assessment. The division did not accept the stock assessment for management purposes after three peer reviewers noted the same concerns the division has.
Some of the concerns are about recent studies showing that the North Carolina stock of southern flounder mixes with stocks in other South Atlantic states. These concerns can only be addressed with a regional stock assessment that includes data from other states.
The draft stock assessment indicates that recruitment (the number of young fish entering into the stock) has declined since the 1990s.
source: North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission