15A NCAC 03M .0503 FLOUNDER

(a) It is unlawful to possess flounder less than 14 inches total length taken from the Atlantic Ocean in a commercial fishing operation.

(b) From October 1 through April 30, it shall be unlawful to use a trawl in the Atlantic Ocean within three miles of the ocean beach from the North Carolina/Virginia state line (36 33.000'N) to Cape Lookout (34 36.000'N) unless each trawl has a mesh length of 5 1/2 inches or larger diamond mesh (stretched) or 6 inches or larger square mesh (stretched) applied throughout the body, extension(s) and the cod end (tailbag) of the net except as provided in Paragraphs (g) and (h) of this Rule.

(c) License to Land Flounder from the Atlantic Ocean:

(1) It is unlawful to land more than 100 pounds per trip of flounder taken from the Atlantic Ocean unless the owner of the vessel or in the case of Land or Sell Licenses, the responsible party, has been issued a License to Land Flounder from the Atlantic Ocean and the vessel in use is the vessel specified on the License to Land Flounder from the Atlantic Ocean.

(2) It is unlawful for a fish dealer to purchase or offload more than 100 pounds of flounder taken from the Atlantic Ocean by a vessel whose owner, or in the case of Land or Sell Licenses, the responsible party, has not first procured a valid North Carolina License to Land Flounder from the Atlantic Ocean and the vessel in use is the vessel specified on the License to Land Flounder from the Atlantic Ocean.

(3) It is unlawful for any person to land flounder from the Atlantic Ocean under a License to Land Flounder from the Atlantic Ocean unless that person is the holder of the license or the master designated on the license.

(4) It is unlawful for any individual to land flounder from the Atlantic Ocean without having ready at hand for inspection a valid License to Land Flounder from the Atlantic Ocean, except as specified in Subparagraph (c)(1) of this Rule.

(d) All fish dealer transactions in flounder landed from the Atlantic Ocean must be conducted in accordance with the Atlantic Ocean Flounder Dealer Permits in 15A NCAC 03O .0503 and related rules in 15A NCAC 03O .0500.

(e) It is unlawful to transfer flounder taken from the Atlantic Ocean from one vessel to another.

(f) Tailbag liners of any mesh size, the multiple use of two or more cod ends, or other netting material that in any way could restrict the legal size mesh shall not be used or possessed on the deck of a vessel in the Atlantic Ocean from October 1 through April 30 from the North Carolina/Virginia state line (36 33.000' N) to Cape Lookout (34 36.0000'N).

(g) Trawls with a cod end mesh size smaller than described in Paragraph (b) of this Rule may be used or possessed on the deck of a vessel provided not more than 100 pounds of flounder per trip from May 1 through October 31 or more than 200 pounds from November 1 through April 30 is possessed aboard or landed from that vessel.

(h) Flynets are exempt from the flounder trawl mesh requirements if they meet the following definition:

(1) The net has large mesh in the wings that measure 8 inches to 64 inches;

(2) The first body section (belly) of the net has 35 or more meshes that are at least 8 inches; and

(3) The mesh decreases in size throughout the body of the net to as small as 2 inches or smaller towards the terminus of the net.

(i) Commercial Season.

(1) The North Carolina season for landing ocean-caught flounder shall open January 1 each year. If 80 percent of the quota allocated to North Carolina in accordance with the joint Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council/Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Fishery Management Plan for Summer Flounder is projected to be taken, the Fisheries Director shall, by proclamation, close North Carolina ports to landing of flounder taken from the ocean.

(2) The season for landing flounder taken in the Atlantic Ocean shall reopen November 1 if any of the quota allocated to North Carolina in accordance with the joint Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council/Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Fishery Management Plan for Summer Flounder remains. If after reopening, 100 percent of the quota allocated to North Carolina in accordance with the joint Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council/Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Fishery Management Plan for Summer Flounder is projected to be taken prior to the end of the calendar year, the Fisheries Director shall, by proclamation, close North Carolina ports to landing of flounder taken from the ocean.

(3) During any closed season prior to November 1, vessels may land up to 100 pounds of flounder per trip taken from the Atlantic Ocean.

(j) The Fisheries Director may, by proclamation, establish trip limits for the taking of flounder from the Atlantic Ocean to assure that the individual state quota allocated to North Carolina in the joint Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council/Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Fishery Management Plan for Summer Flounder is not exceeded.

(k) The Fisheries Director may, by proclamation, based on variability in environmental and local stock conditions, take any or all of the following actions in the flounder fishery:

(1) Specify size;

(2) Specify season;

(3) Specify area;

(4) Specify quantity;

(5) Specify means/methods; and

(6) Require submission of statistical and biological data.

(l) Possession and sale of flounder by a hatchery or flounder aquaculture operation and purchase and possession of flounder from a hatchery or flounder aquaculture operation shall be exempt from season and size limit restrictions set under Paragraph (k) of this Rule. It is unlawful to possess, sell, purchase, or transport such flounder unless they are in compliance with all conditions of the Aquaculture Operations Permit.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 113‑134; 113-169.5; 113‑182; 113‑221; 143B-289.52;

Eff. January 1, 1991;

Amended Eff. March 1, 1996; February 1, 1992;

Temporary Amendment Eff. November 1, 1995 for a period of 180 days or until the permanent rule becomes effective, whichever is sooner;

Temporary Amendment Eff. December 23, 1996;

Amended Eff. April 1, 1997;

Temporary Amendment Eff. June 1, 1998; August 18, 1997;

Amended Eff. April 1, 1999;

Temporary Amendment Eff. May 1, 2000; July 1, 1999;

Amended Eff. April 1, 2001; August 1, 2000;

Temporary Amendment Eff. September 1, 2004;

Temporary Amendment Expired June 12, 2005;

Amended Eff. September 1, 2005.