The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries today announced that the fall 2022 recreational striped bass season in the Albemarle Sound Management Area will open Nov. 1 and close when the quota has been reached, or Dec. 31, 2022, whichever comes first.
“This management determination is based on further review of the 2022 Albemarle-Roanoke striped bass stock assessment update, consultation with the Wildlife Resources Commission staff, and stakeholder comments,” said Division Director Kathy Rawls.
“While the fall recreational season will open, a reversal from the Director’s previous decision, the Division and Wildlife Resources Commission staffs continue to have concerns about the status of the Albemarle-Roanoke Striped Bass stock,” said Rawls.
The data collected by the Division of Marine Fisheries and the Wildlife Resources Commission indicate the stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring. A declining trend in recruitment since the early 2000s has contributed to a diminished spawning stock. In addition, both agencies have concerns that the Albemarle-Roanoke striped bass stock is being negatively impacted by environmental factors that need to be more fully understood.
Adaptive management will remain consistent with the November 2020 Revision to Amendment 1 to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass FMP until a more thorough review of the 2022 stock assessment update is conducted. Pending that review, the 2023 Total Allowable Landings for the Albemarle Sound and Roanoke River striped bass fisheries will remain at 51,216 pounds, split evenly between the commercial and recreational sectors.
In the meantime, the Division will continue to work with the Marine Fisheries Commission for final adoption of Amendment 2 to the Estuarine Striped Bass FMP which contains additional management measures intended to conserve and rebuild the Albemarle-Roanoke striped bass stock.
The Albemarle Sound Management Area includes the Albemarle, Currituck, Roanoke, and Croatan sounds and all their tributaries, except the Roanoke, Middle, Eastmost, and Cashie rivers, where striped bass recreational regulations are set by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. For Wildlife Resources Commission striped bass seasons and regulations go to https://www.ncwildlife.org or call 919-707-0010.
The Albemarle Sound Management Area season will open with the following provisions for the recreational fishery:
- A one-fish per person per day creel limit.
- An 18-inch total length minimum size limit. Total length is measured from the tip of the snout to the tip of the compressed tail (see diagram).
For more information, see Proclamation FF-56-2022.