RALEIGH, N.C. (September 13, 2021) – During its business meeting on August 26, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission voted to notice a temporary rule change for the 2022 striped bass harvest season in the Roanoke River Management Area. The change to rule 15A NCAC 10C .0314 - Striped Bass was recommended by agency staff to maintain harvest within the quota set for 2022.
The Roanoke River Management Area annual harvest quota was reduced from 68,750 pounds to 12,804 pounds in 2021 because of continued declines in the number of fish in the Albemarle-Roanoke striped bass population. To accommodate the quota reduction, the harvest season was shortened from two months in the entire river to one week in the lower river zone and one week in the upper river zone. Even with these conservation measures in place, fishing conditions exceeded expectations and harvest during 2021 was estimated to be more than double the quota.
After reviewing the data, inland fisheries biologists determined a reduction in the number of fish that can be kept per day, from two to one, was the best option in combination with the reduced season length to propose for the 2022 season to allow for continued harvest opportunities while ensuring harvest of striped bass stays within the annual quota. The temporary rule will also further protect spawning fish as the population works to recover from recent declines.
The NC Division of Marine Fisheries also reduced the recreational daily creel limit of striped bass in the Albemarle Sound Management Area to one fish per day to keep harvest within the same quota of 12,804 pounds.
“Poor recruitment over several years has resulted in the lowest estimated numbers of striped bass we have seen on the Roanoke River since the early 1990s,” said Jeremy McCargo, anadromous fisheries coordinator with the Commission. “The reduction in the number of fish that can be kept per day is necessary to avoid exceeding the harvest quota in this popular fishery. We are optimistic that the reductions in the harvest of spawning fish will result in higher recruitment over the next few years.”
An online public hearing will be held on Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. Pre-registration is required. Registration is available online at www.ncwildlife.org/proposed-regulations.
The Commission will accept public comment through Sept. 24. Comments can be: