North Carolina closed all coastal waters to commercial and recreational spotted seatrout harvest for an indefinite period at noon today (January 14).
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Director Louis Daniel issued a proclamation today implementing the closure, after consulting with N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Chairman Rob Bizzell.
The action is being taken in response to recent cold stun events in Rose Bay, Juniper Bay, Pungo River, Campbell Creek, Turnigan Bay, Spooners Creek and other waters. The intent of the closure is to prevent the harvest of vulnerable cold stunned fish, which may recover with warming temperatures.
"On the heels of two cold stun events, one in 2010 and now in 2011, and pretty large commercial and recreational catch rates in 2009, I believe this is the best thing for the fishery," Daniel said.
In approving the Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan in November, the Marine Fisheries Commission authorized Daniel to temporarily close harvest in the event of a cold stun event. The commission will review the closure and consider extending it at is Feb. 11 meeting in Pine Knoll Shores.
For more information, contact division biologist Beth Burns at (252) 473-5734, extension 221, or Beth.Burns@ncdenr.gov.