State Coastal Waters
(Internal & 0-3 Miles)
Exclusive Economic Zone EEZ
|Greater Amberjack||28" FL||1/Day||28" FL||1/Day|
Only 5 greater than 24" TL
|Cobia||33" FL||2/Day||33" FL||2/Day|
|24" FL||3/Day||24" FL||3/Day|
|12" FL||15/Day||12" FL||15/Day|
|Tuna;Yellowfin, Bluefin, Bigeye (J) (H)||27" CFL||Contact NMFS for closures & limits(J), Yellowfin Tuna limit 3/Day|
(excluding spiny and smooth dogfish)
|54-84" FL (L)||1/Vessel/Day
1/Day (shore,charter, headboat) (L)
|(F) 54" FL||1/Vessel/Day|
|Sharks, Atlantic Sharpnose(J)||(L)||Included in Limit Above||(F)||1/Day|
|Blue Marlin( H)||99" LJFL||1/vessel/trip either Blue or White Marlin||99" LJFL||1/vessel/trip either Blue or White Marlin|
|White Marlin (H)||66" LJFL||1/vessel/trip either Blue or White Marlin||66" LJFL||1/vessel/trip either Blue or White Marlin|
|Sailfish (H)||63" LJFL||1/Day||63" LJFL||1/Day|
(Channel Bass, Puppy Drum)
|18-27" TL (D)||1/Day||Unlawful to Possess|
|Flounder(G)||14 TL||8/Day||14 TL||8/Day|
|Spotted Seatrout (Speckled)||12" TL||10/Day||12" TL||10/Day|
|Weakfish (Gray Trout)||12" TL||7/Day||12" TL||7/Day|
|Striped Bass||(A)||(A)||Unlawful To Possess|
|American & Hickory Shad (M)||10/Day||10/Day|
|Alewife and Blueback Herring (M)||25/Day||25/Day|
|American Eel||6" TL||50/Day||6" TL||50/Day|
(North of Cape Hatteras)
|8" TL||50/Day||10" TL||50/Day (E)|
(North of Cape Hatteras) (C)
|12" TL||25/Day||12" TL||25/Day|
(South of Cape Hatteras)
|10" TL||20/Day||10" TL||20/Day|
|Red, Scamp, Yellowfin & Yellowmouth Groupers (K)||20" TL||5/Day (all groupers combined; includes only 1 speckled hind, 1 warsaw, and no more than 2 black or gag grouper, individual or combined)||20" TL||5/Day (all groupers combined; includes only 1 speckled hind, 1 warsaw, and no more than 2 black or gag grouper, individual or combined)|
|Black and Gag Groupers||24" TL||2/Day (See above)||24" TL||2/Day (See above)|
|Speckled Hind (Kitty Mitchell)||1/Vessel/Trip (See above)||1/Vessel/Trip (See above)|
|Warsaw Grouper||1/Vessel/Trip (See above)||1/Vessel/Trip (See above)|
|Red Porgy (Silver Snapper, Pinky)||14" TL||1/Day||14" TL||1/Day|
|Dog, Gray, Cubera, Mahogany, Queen, Schoolmaster, & Yellowtail Snappers||10/Day (Species combined; includes up to 2 Red Snapper)||12" TL||10/Day (Species combined; includes up to 2 Red Snapper)|
|Mutton Snapper||See Above||16" TL||See Above|
|Silk and Blackfin Snappers||12" TL||See Above||12" TL||See Above|
|Red Snapper||20" TL||2/Day - See Above||20" TL||2/Day - See Above|
|Vermillion Snapper||11" TL||10/Day||11" TL||10/Day|
|Reef Complex Species Includessheepshead, spadefish, gray triggerfish, white grunt, knobbed porgy and more (see below) (I)||20/Day||20/Day|
(Internal waters and Atlantic Ocean out to 3 miles
(Atlantic Ocean more than 3 miles)
|Sturgeon, Nassau grouper, and Goliath grouper (jewfish). Prohibited sharks include: basking, white, sand tiger, and whale.||Sharks; (whale, basking, white, sand tiger, bigeye sand tiger, Atlantic angel shark, bigeye sixgill, bigeye thresher, bignose, Caribbean reef, Caribbean sharpnose, dusky, Galapogos, longfin mako, narrowtooth, night, sevengill, sixgill, and smalltail), red drum, striped bass, sturgeon, Nassau grouper, Goliath grouper (jewfish), and spearfish.|
|Blue Crab||5" Carapace Width||50 crabs/day not to exceed 100 crabs/vessel/day|
|Hard Clam||1" Thick||100 clams/day not to exceed 200 clams/vessel/day|
|Oyster (N)||3" Shell Length||1 bushel/day not to exceed 2 bushels/vessel/day|
|Bay Scallops (N)(Q)||1/2 bushel/day not to exceed 1 bushel/vessel/day|
|Conchs & Whelks||10/day not to exceed 20/vessel/day|
|Mussels||100/day not to exceed 200/vessel/day|
Cast Net Only
Shrimping Area - 100 shrimp/day
Open Shrimping Area - Unlimited
Albemarle Sound Management Area: contact DMF for seasons, areas or other
limits; Atlantic Ocean year-round: 2 per person per day at 28" TL minimum;
Other coastal areas (excluding Inland Waters-regulations set by Wildlife
Resource Commission) year-round: 3 per person per day at 18" TL minimum.
(B) Charter vessel (licensed by Coast Guard and holding NMFS Charter Vessel Coastal Migratory Pelagic Permit) limit of 60/trip
(C) Open season January 1 - September 7 and September 22 - November 30.
(D) Unlawful to possess red drum greater than 27 inches total length. Unlawful to gig, spear, or gaff red drum.
(E) North of Cape Hatteras Scup recreational season is Jan. 1 - Feb. 29 and August 15 - Nov. 30 in the EEZ.
(F) See prohibited species list above; Legal sharks include: sandbar, silky, tiger, blacktip, spinner, lemon, bull, nurse, smooth and scalloped and great hammerhead, blacknose, finetooth, bonnethead, shortfin mako, blue, thresher, porbeagle, and oceanic whitetip. One (1) Atlantic sharpnose (no minimum size) and one bonnethead (no minimum size) per person per trip may be landed in addition to allowable bag limits for other sharks.
(G) Restrictions apply to gigging in all coastal waters.
(H) In state or federal waters, federal permit required for Highly Migratory Species, excluding Atlantic bonito, little tunny (albacore), and blackfin tuna:(978) 281-9370 or www.nmfspermits.com. Prior to removal from vessel, all billfishes, swordfish and bluefin tuna must be reported at NC HMS reporting stations. DMF website for more details.
(I) Reef complex species: whitebone porgy, jolthead porgy, knobbed
porgy, longspine porgy, sheepshead, gray triggerfish, queen triggerfish,
yellow jack, crevalle jacks, bar jack, almaco jack, lesser amberjack, banded
rudderfish, white grunt, margates, spadefish,scup, and hogfish, 20 per person
per day in combination.
(J) For seasons or closures for tunas, billfishes, and sharks contact NMFS Highly Migratory Species Division (1-301-713-2347 or www.nmfspermits.com or www.nmfs.noaa.gov). For snapper, grouper, and mackerels contact the South Atlantic Council (1-843-571-4366 or www.safmc.net).
(K) Groupers in the management unit include: red, yellowfin, yellowmouth, black, warsaw, snowy, yellowedge, and misty grouper; gag, scamp, speckled hind, red hind, rock hind, graysby, and coney. No possession of Nassau and Goliath grouper.
(L) Minimium size does not apply to Atlantic sharpnose or dogfish. Creel does not apply to dogfish. Sharks greater than 84 inches are prohibited except for tiger, thresher, bigeye thresher, shortfin mako, and hammerhead sp. Headboat or charterboat Captain or crew are not allowed a creel limit.
(M) Season, areas, or other limits may be set by DMF. Shad (hickory and American) may only be taken with recreational commercial gear such as drift gill nets from January 1 through April 14 or by hook and line year round.
(N) Contact DMF for seasons, areas, or other restrictions.
(P) Pending rule change
(Q) During the open season, scallop harvest restricted to certain hours of the day, contact DMF for all restrictions.
Total length (TL) is measured from tip of snout with
mouth closed to tip of compressed tail. Fork length (FL) is measured from
tip of snout to middle of fork in tail. Lower jaw fork length (LJFL) is
measured from lower jaw to middle of fork in tail. Curved fork length (CFL)
is the measurement of the length taken in a line tracing the contour of
the body from the tip of the upper jaw to the fork of the tail.
Bag limits are not additive for state and federal waters.
Ocean boundary is defined as water seaward of the COLREGS Demarcation Lines as indicated on National Ocean Service navigation charts
No one may possess aboard a vessel or while engaged in fishing any fish subject to limits without head and tail attached, except for alewife and blueback herring used for bait provided not more than two fish per boat/operation may be cut at any one time. - Reference 15A NCAC 3M .0101
IMPORTANT Check with Division of Marine Fisheries for most current minimum lengths and catch limits. 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 (North Carolina only). For inland water limits contact Wildlife Resources Commission 919-733-3633 or visit their website www.ncwildlife.org .
This document is a public record under chapter 132 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Anyone who alters, defaces, mutilates or destroys it shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction subject to fines.
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