Town of Holden Beach
The minimum size limit for spotted seatrout will increase from 12 inches to 14 inches on Monday, October 5th. The change applies to both commercial and recreational fisheries. A 10-fish recreational bag limit will remain in place.
A 2009 stock assessment determined that spotted seatrout is overfished in North Carolina. The increased size limit is needed to allow more female fish to spawn in an effort to restore the stock to a healthy population level. Only about 89 percent of female spotted seatrout are reproductively mature at 12 inches; by the time they reach 14 inches, 98 percent of female spotted seatrout have reached reproductive maturity.
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is working with a Spotted Seatrout Advisory Committee to develop a fishery management plan for the species. The management plan will recommend permanent rules to address issues pertaining to the spotted seatrout fishery. The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission authorized the size limit change as an interim measure until that plan is developed and adopted.