2023 commercial estuarine flounder season opening dates announced
Published 9:40 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2023
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has announced the 2023 commercial estuarine flounder season opening dates by Southern Flounder Management Area and Gear Category.
Pound Net Management Areas
All pound net management areas will open with initial trip limits. Trip limits will be decreased during the season based on the amount of quota available.
Northern (waters north of Pamlico Sound: open Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. Opening trip limit: 1,000 pounds
Central (Pamlico Sound and its tributaries: open Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. Opening trip limit: 2,000 pounds
Southern (waters from Core Sound to South Carolina line): open Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. Opening trip limit: 500 pounds.
Mobile Gear Management Areas
Mobile gears are all gears other than pound nets used to harvest southern flounder. Mobile gears are split into two Management Areas
– Northern (waters south of the Virginia line to the Incidental Take Permit BD boundary line)
– Southern (waters from the Incidental Take Permit BD boundary line to the South Carolina line)
All mobile gears will open to harvest Tuesday, Oct. 3.
Harvest of fish from gill nets will only be allowed Tuesday through Thursday each week until the management area closes.
Use of gigs and all other gears will be allowed seven days a week.
The harvest period for each Flounder Management Area and Gear Category will close to maintain harvest within the landings sub-allocation when the allowable landings are approached. Division of Marine Fisheries will announce the closings by proclamation as necessary during the season.
The season opening dates are set annually to keep the fishery within the commercial quota approved by the Marine Fisheries Commission in the N.C. Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 3.
The plan also specifies any overage to the commercial Total Allowable Catch requires a pound for pound payback subtracted from the following year’s allowable harvest. The commercial quotas will be the same as last year, as no overages to the commercial Total Allowable Catch occurred in 2022.
For more information, see the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Southern Flounder Amendment 3 information page.