Recreational flounder season will not open in 2024

Published 1:40 pm Friday, May 31, 2024

The North Carolina recreational southern flounder season will not open for harvest in 2024. Estimates from 2023 indicate the recreational catch exceeded the quota allowed under a stock rebuilding plan that was included in Amendment 3 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan and adopted by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission.

Southern flounder is overfished and overfishing is occurring, states the media release from North Carolina Marine Fisheries. Amendment 3 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan, adopted by the commission in 2022, set quotas for the recreational and commercial fisheries, based on scientific data, to end overfishing and rebuild the stock. There is a pound-for-pound payback if either sector goes over its quota.

During the May 23, 2024, quarterly business meeting, the Marine Fisheries Commission received an update on the recreational quota available for a recreational founder season. After subtracting the recreational overage from 2023, the recreational quota remaining for 2024 is not large enough to allow for a season opening, stated the release. The leftover quota will be used to account for the anticipated dead discards that will occur due to incidental catch and release. The commission discussed holding a special meeting to consider alternatives to not holding a 2024 recreational season but ultimately did not move forward with that approach.

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Following Amendment 3 and not opening the 2024 recreational flounder season, combined with the increased recreational quota in 2025, should allow enough quota for a recreational season next year.

North Carolina’s southern flounder fisheries are managed under the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 3. For more information on the management measures, go to