North Carolina Has New Cobia Regulations

Photo courtesy of Capt. Cephus McRae

New size and bag limits for the recreational cobia fishery in North Carolina waters went into effect May 1.

The minimum size limit increased to 36 inches fork length (measured from the tip of snout to the fork in the tail). The possession limit decreased to one fish per-person-per-day, with a maximum of four fish per-vessel-per-day, if four or more people are onboard a vessel.

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission voted in February to tighten recreational cobia regulations after the federal government closed federal waters (ocean waters beyond 3 miles from shore) north of the Georgia-Florida line to recreational cobia harvest. The federal closure took effect on January 24st and will remain for the rest of the year.

The federal action was taken to account for overages in the recreational annual catch limit and the total annual catch limit of Atlantic migratory group cobia in 2016.

In addition to the regulatory changes, the commission asked anglers to report the length and weight of all cobia harvested in state waters on a catch card, which can be found at official North Carolina Citation Weigh Stations or online.

The recreational cobia season will close in state waters at 12:01 a.m. September 1st.

For more information on the cobia season in state waters or the 2017 Cobia Catch Reporting Program, contact Steve Poland, cobia staff lead with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, at (252)-808-8159 or

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