MOREHEAD CITY - Anglers will soon have more flexibility in deciding which fish to keep and which ones to throw back.

Effective Monday, June 18, recreational fishermen will have the option of keeping up to four weakfish under 14 inches per day OR up to 10 weakfish that are 14 inches or larger. No weakfish can be retained that are less than 12 inches.

The DMF made the change in response to complaints from fishermen that there were very few 14-inch weakfish available, most fishermen are catching weakfish in the 12-inch to 13-inch range.

According to Division of Marine Fisheries Director Preston Pate, his agency has altered limits throughout the years between a 4 fish/12-inch limit and a 10 fish/14-inch limit. "The varying size limits have the same conservation equivalency for fishery management purposes, so we decided to let the individual fisherman choose which size fish was most appropriate for his purposes," said Pate.

Anglers have to abide by one or the other of the size limits. For example, they cannot keep four weakfish between 12 inches to 14 inches and also possess weakfish that are 14 inches or larger - they have to stick with one size limit or the other. In addition, if anglers are fishing from a vessel, everyone on that vessel must stay with the same size limit.

For more information about weakfish, please contact Dr. Louis Daniel by e-mail at Louis.Daniel@ncmail.net or by calling 1-800-682-2632 or 252-726-7021. ###


MOREHEAD CITY - Gigging red drum will soon be a thing of the past in North Carolina's coastal waters.

Effective Monday, June 18, gigging, gaffing or spearing red drum will be prohibited in both commercial and recreational fisheries, according to officials with the state Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF).

Red drum, the state saltwater fish, is listed as overfished in the most recent assessment of North Carolina's fisheries. Stringent management measures and fishing restrictions are in place to aid the stock in the recovery process.

According to DMF Director Preston Pate, one of the major tenets of the Red Drum Fishery Management Plan is the popular fish can only be taken in a bycatch capacity; in other words, fishermen cannot target red drum when they are fishing, but are allowed to keep a limited number if they unintentionally catch the fish.

"You don't accidentally gig a fish," said Pate, "That's why we are prohibiting this type of gear in the red drum fishery."

For more information on red drum, please contact Dr. Louis Daniel by e-mail at Louis.Daniel@ncmail.net or by calling 1-800-682-2632 or 252-726-7021. ###



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