Marine Fisheries Commission amends sector allocations for southern flounder plan amendment

Southern flounder. [courtesy Island Free Press]

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission voted Wednesday to amend the previously adopted sector allocations for Amendment 3 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan to gradually equalize allocations between the commercial and recreational fisheries.

The commission voted to change the allocation to 70% commercial and 30% recreational in 2021 and 2022, 60% commercial and 40% recreational in 2023, and 50% commercial and 50% recreational in 2024.

In February, the commission had selected sector harvest allocations of 70% commercial and 30% recreational for the duration of Amendment 3. That allocation was similar to the harvest landed by each sector in 2017, the terminal year of the stock assessment on which draft management measures in Amendment 3 are based.

Chairman Rob Bizzell called the special meeting to revisit this issue after the commission received a large amount of public comment on the February decision.

The allocation decision is needed to facilitate commercial and recreational quotas as proposed in draft Amendment 3. The change in allocation may impact the timeline for final adoption of the amendment.

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