Striped Bass Closures in North Carolina
On March 11, striped bass season closed in many North Carolina waters. Management measures were implemented for the Central Southern Management Area, which encompasses all internal waters from just south of Oregon Inlet to the South Carolina line. Waters impacted include, but are not limited to, the Pamlico and Core sounds and the Tar, Pamlico, Pungo, Bay, Neuse and White Oak rivers and their tributaries.
In those areas, harvest of striped bass is closed, but recreational catch and release of striped bass is still allowed in the coastal fishing waters. Recreational fishermen are encouraged to use non-offset circle hooks and to limit handling of released fish.
The recreational season remains open in joint fishing waters managed cooperatively between the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission until April 30 with an 18-inch minimum size limit, no possession of fish between 22 inches and 27 inches total length and a two-fish per person, per day bag limit.
A recreational no-possession limit, essentially a year-round recreational season closure for striped bass will take effect in coastal fishing waters managed by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission.
The closure does not impact striped bass fishing in the Atlantic Ocean, Albemarle Sound Management Area, Roanoke River Management Area, and inland waters under the sole jurisdiction of the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission.
The new management measures are meant to be temporary restrictions to protect naturally spawned year classes of striped bass. Research has shown that striped bass in the Central Southern Management Area are not a self-sustaining population and that fishermen are mainly catching hatchery-raised fish; however, data suggest there have been two recent naturally spawned year classes.