Stock Status - Viable- Based on the most recent stock assessment the spawning stock biomass is above target and fishing mortality is below target. The south Atlantic Spanish mackerel stock is considered healthy and not overfished. A new stock assessment should be completed in 2008.
Average Commercial Landings and Value 1998-2007 – 516,043 lbs./$504,891
2007 Commercial Landings and Value – 487,879 lbs./$731,076 (quota managed)
Average Recreational Landings 1998-2007 – 495,937 lbs., 2007 – 717,557 lbs.
Average Number of Award Citations (6 lbs.) 1998-2007 – 108, 2007 – 108
Average Recreational Commercial Gear License (RCGL) Landings 2002-2007 – 2,794 lbs., 2007 – 3,817 lbs.
Status of Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) – In North Carolina, Spanish mackerel are currently included in the Interjurisdictional FMP, which defers to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) compliance requirements. Currently managed under Amendment 15 to the SAFMC Coastal Pelagic FMP. Management measures include commercial and recreational quotas, minimum size limits, commercial trip limits (3,500 lbs./trip), recreational bag limits, and gear restrictions. Charterboat/ headboat operators must possess a charter/headboat vessel permit for Coastal Migratory Pelagics and must comply with recreational bag limits.
Research and Data Needs - bycatch mortality estimates in the directed shrimp fishery, fishery independent methods of monitoring stock size, and juvenile abundance indices
Current Regulations - 12 inches fork length (FL), 15 fish/day for recreational anglers
Harvest Season - open year round, based on an April 1 to March 31 fishing year; commercial and recreational fisheries can close when the quota is reached
Size and Age at Maturity - 12 inches FL/2 years
Historical and Current Maximum Age - 12 years/8 years
Juvenile Abundance Index 1998-2007 – unknown, 2007 - unknown
Habits and Habitats - Spanish mackerel are considered coastal pelagic, meaning they live in the open waters near the coast. They make north and south migrations depending on water temperature, with 68o F being a preferred minimum. In North Carolina’s waters, Spanish mackerel can be found from April to November. They migrate south to the Florida coast in the late fall. In the summer months, they may be found as far inland as the sounds and coastal river mouths. Spanish mackerel spawn from May to September.
For more information, contact Randy Gregory Randy.Gregory@ncmail.net (800-682-2632 or 252-726-7021).
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