2016 North Carolina Stock Status Report

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The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries recently released its 2016 Stock Status Report. The stock status of one species was reclassified from the 2015 report while other species remained unchanged.

Summer flounder moved from “viable” to “concern.” The change was 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 was not overfished but overfishing was occurring.

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. Definitions of these categories can be found at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/stock-status-categories-and-definitions.

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. They are used to prioritize development of state fishery management plans.

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

source: North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries