MOREHEAD CITY –The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has issued a proclamation consistent with the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission’s decision to impose restrictions on the recreational cobia fishery. On Thursday the commission voted to impose the following restrictions on recreational cobia:
A 37-inch fork length (measured from the tip of the snout to the fork in the tail) minimum size limit for all recreational fisheries.
Anglers fishing from private boats may only fish on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays under daily possession limit of two fish per vessel or one fish per person if only one person is on board.
Those fishing from the shore or shore-based structures (pier or surf) may fish seven days a week with a daily possession limit of one fish per person.
Those fishing on a for-hire boat (charter or guide) may fish seven days a week with a daily possession limit of four fish per vessel or one fish per person if fewer than four people are on board.
Those practicing catch-and-release may fish seven days a week.
The commission’s decision was in response to a federal announcement that, because the annual catch limit was exceeded last year, it intends to close the recreational cobia season in federal waters north of the Georgia-Florida border on June 20. In order to remain consistent with the federal fishery management plan, the federal government encouraged states close state waters for recreational cobia season on June 20. The commission did not approve the division’s recommendation to either close state waters on June 20 or select one of eight size and vessel limit combinations already analyzed by federal government that would have resulted in a lengthened season if adopted by both North Carolina and Virginia.
The commission’s decision to impose these additional restrictions is an effort to extend the recreational cobia season in state waters. These new restrictions go into effect on Monday. The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will submit these new restrictions to the federal government and request an expedited review to determine whether these actions will be sufficient to allow the season to be extended in state waters beyond June 20. If the federal government determines that these restrictions are not sufficient to remain consistent with the federal fishery management plan for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic regions, additional restrictions may be necessary.
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