Earlier this summer, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries announced the 2023 recreational flounder season in accordance with Amendment 3 of the North Carolina Flounder Fishery Management Plan. The 2023 recreational flounder season for Coastal and Joint Fishing Waters will open at 12:01 a.m. on Friday Sept. 15, 2023, and will remain open until 11:59 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, 2023. The possession limit will be one flounder per person per day. The minimum size limit will be 15 inches total length (from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail). Harvest of flounder with a Recreational Commercial Gear License is prohibited.
The fisheries management measures implemented by the Marine Fisheries Commission and the Division of Marine Fisheries are science-based and required by law to ensure the long-term viability of the State’s commercially and recreationally significant species. Ending overfishing and rebuilding overfished stocks within the timeline set out in the Fishery Management Plans is essential for the conservation of these fish for the enjoyment of current and future North Carolinians.
Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03I.0120 prohibits the possession or transport of flounder through Coastal or Joint Fishing Waters (Coastal and Joint Waters descriptive boundaries) when those waters are closed to flounder harvest, regardless of where the species was taken.
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, in collaboration with other states, including South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, are updating the Southern Flounder coast-wide stock assessment. While North Carolina data are showing improved abundance of flounder, the coastwide assessment will provide a science-based approach to determine the state of the stock overall. Results from this assessment are expected to be completed and presented to the Marine Fisheries Commission in 2024.
If you have any questions regarding flounder management or regulations in joint and coastal fishing waters, please email Anne.Markwith@deq.nc.gov or call 910-796-7292; or email Holly.White@deq.nc.gov or call 252-381-6004.