North Carolina explores tightening flounder restrictions for upcoming season

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries announced last week when the season will open for recreational flounder.

Currently, guidelines outline a six-week season for recreational fishermen to catch flounder and permit them to bring home four fish per person per day, with a minimum size limit of 15 inches.

One recommendation being discussed as Amendment 3 is being drafted is limiting fishermen to only one fish per person per day.

Fisherman Jordan Nason feeds his family with the fish he catches but understands the need to protect the fish.

“I want to be able to catch as many as I can but I also want to protect the species so that they’re around for my kids to catch too,” Nason said. “For me, because I’m flexible, I’m just going to do my best to get some flounder when I’m allowed to.”

The draft amendment includes options for commercial and recreational quotas, accountability measures for both sectors, commercial trip limits, recreational bag limits, regulations on the recreational use of commercial gear to harvest flounder, separating southern flounder from other flounder species in recreational management, evaluating inlet corridors as a management tool, and evaluating recreational and commercial slot limits.

An updated version of the draft is scheduled to be posted Thursday by the end of the day and will be shared at the March 18 Marine Fisheries Commission meeting.

The state says no final decisions will be made before the public comment is heard and they anticipate the public comment period for the amendment will begin after the March 18 meeting.

The commission is accepting public comments online and by mail for their upcoming meeting. The updated draft will be posted at this link as well.

The commission is expected to choose the preferred options at the May meeting, making a final vote in August.

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