Recreational fishermen still can keep one 18- to 27-inch red drum per day, but commercial red drum fishermen will have no spring/summer season this year.
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will not open the May-August commercial season because the annual harvest limit was exceeded in just the fall/winter season. Preliminary calculations from Sept. 1 to Nov. 23 showed landings reached 260,866 pounds, exceeding the annual quota by 10,866 pounds.
Fishery management plans with the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission and the South Atlantic Marine Fisheries Commission require that the overage be deducted from the next year’s harvest limit, so the season will have an adjusted limit when it reopens Sept. 1, the division said in a news release Monday.
Because of the unexpectedly large harvest, the division is determining whether management changes are needed.
The large harvest came from what is considered a bycatch fishery, which is intended to prevent waste by allowing the sale of red drum caught when fishermen are targeting other species.
The Coastal Conservation Association North Carolina, a nonprofit with a focus on protecting marine resources, was alarmed by the amount the quota was exceeded, and in a news release CCA-NC chairman Greg Hurt called on Marine Fisheries to investigate whether commercial fishermen were targeting red drum.
Recreational fishermen can keep one slot-sized red drum per day 18 to 27 inches in total length and caught in state waters. No fish longer than 27 inches may be possessed. Possession is prohibited in federal waters.
Shotgunners arrive soon: The 15th Southern Side by Side Championship and Exhibition Spring Classic takes place April 25-27 at the Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School in Sanford.
The event will include a pig-pickin’ and bluegrass, plus vendors with guns, shooting clothing and accessories. Experts from the United States and England will provide gun fittings and appraisals.
File and donate: If you missed donating to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission on your state income tax form, you still can donate year-round at www.ncwildlife.org.
Free preview: The World Fishing Network is available on a free preview in the Raleigh area on CenturyLink Prism Channel 679 (HD 1679) through April 30 and on Dish Network’s Channel 394 until May 6. Learn more at www.worldfishingnetwork.com/tv/get-wfn.
Triangle banquet May 1: The Triangle Chapter of Coastal Conservation Organization North Carolina will hold its banquet May 1 in the Kerr Scott Building at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. A fly casting clinic and sponsor clinic start at 5 p.m., and the banquet starts at 6:30. Tickets cost $60 each.
The Piedmont chapter banquet is May 6 at the Shrine Club in Burlington, and the Cape Fear banquet is May 15 at the Coastline Conference and Event Center in Wilmington.
For tickets, call CCA-NC at 919-781-3474.
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