Average Commercial Landings and Value 1997-2006 – 166,362 lbs./$187,854
Status of Fishery Management Plan (FMP) - A new stock assessment has recently been completed and indicates that red drum are no longer experiencing overfishing. Overfishing had been occurring since at least 1986, the first year that data were available to assess the stock status. The 2001 N.C. Red Drum FMP was the catalyst for the current regulations that appear to have been effective at preventing overfishing. The FMP is being reviewed to determine if changes are needed to the current management program. The public is encouraged to participate and provide input in this process. In addition to the 2001 state FMP, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) updated the federal red drum FMP through Amendment 2 (June 2002). This plan requires states to implement management measures that prevent overfishing and achieve optimum yield. As a result of the proactive steps taken by North Carolina under the 2001 state FMP, no new management measures were necessary to achieve this goal. Amendment 2 does require however, that states maintain a management program that continues to meet this goal. Revisions to the North Carolina FMP will need to consider the requirements of Amendment 2 if the state plan is to remain in compliance with the federal plan. The South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (SAFMC) continues to divert overfishing on the Atlantic Coast by preventing the harvest of red drum in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Research and Data Needs – Commercial discard estimates, information on the size distribution of recreational releases, fisheries independent data on recruitment of juvenile fish to adults, assessment of adult stocks, estimates of fecundity for females, and validation of juvenile and sub-adult abundance indices.
Current Regulations (2007) – 18 inches total length (TL) minimum and 27 inches TL maximum for recreational and commercial fishermen. One fish per day for recreational anglers. Daily commercial bycatch allowance for a commercial fishing operation is 7-fish per day and at least 50% of the catch by weight must be edible finfish other than red drum. The commercial fishing season is monitored from September 1 to August 31 with a 250,000-lb. cap. No possession of fish greater than 27 inches TL.
Harvest Season - year round
Size and Age at Maturity – 30-32 inches/3-4 years
Historical and Current Maximum Age - 62 years
Juvenile Abundance Index 1997-2006 – 5.5, 2006 – 3.4
Habits and Habitats - Red drum are estuarine dependent members of the drum family that includes Atlantic croaker, spot, black drum, weakfish, and spotted sea trout. Large red drum (up to 90 lbs.) inhabit the coastal waters of North Carolina throughout the year, often observed in the surf during the spring and fall seasons and commonly found in the Pamlico Sound during the summer months. Spawning takes place in the fall around coastal inlets. Larval and juvenile drum utilize various shallow estuarine habitats in coastal sounds and rivers during the first few years of life. Upon maturity, red drum move out of the estuaries to join the adult spawning stock in the ocean.
For more information, contact Lee Paramore at firstname.lastname@example.org (252-473-5734).
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