Going fishing? Recreational flounder limits are about to change in North Carolina

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Regulations to the Flounder recreational bag limit have changed and will become effective on March 1. (Port City Daily staff photo)

COASTAL NORTH CAROLINA — Now that the weather is warming up, anglers out there are getting the itch to fish.

Flounder can be fished throughout the Cape Fear Region, but anglers should know that fishing regulations for Flounder along North Carolina’s coast have changed.

According to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, the recreational bag limit for flounder will decrease from six to four fish per person, per day. The new regulation is effective beginning March 1.

The bag limit reduction is necessary to comply with requirements of Addendum XXVIII to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scub, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan.

In August 2016, the board approved a 30-percent reduction on catch limits for both commercial and recreational summer flounder fisheries. The reduction is in response to a 2016 stock assessment update that indicated flounder are experiencing over-fishing, but are not over-fished.

For specific recreational flounder regulations see Proclamation FF-4-2017.

Because North Carolina manages its recreational fishery for all species of flounder with the same size and bag limits, the changes will apply to all recreational flounder fishing in all estuarine and ocean waters. The overall commercial summer flounder quota has already been reduced by 30 percent, establishing the 2017 North Carolina commercial summer flounder quota to 1.6 million pounds, according to a news release.

Failure to implement the reduced bag limit would result in default management measures of a 20-inch size limit, a two-fish bag limit, and a fishing season from July 1 through Aug. 31.

The recreational size limit for Flounder remains at 15 inches. To get size and bag limits for other fish species, view the N.C. Recreational Coastal Waters Guide for Sports Fishermen. For the mobile guide click here, or download the Fishing Rules app.