New recreational cobia regulations take effect May 1
New size and bag limits will go into effect May 1 for the recreational cobia fishery in North Carolina waters.
The minimum size limit will increase to 36 inches fork length (measured from the tip of snout to the fork in the tail). The possession limit will decrease to one fish per-person per-day, with a maximum of four fish per-vessel per-day, if four or more people are on board 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 Jan. 24 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 total annual catch limit of Atlantic migratory group cobia in 2016. Go here more information on the closure in federal waters.
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 here. A list of participating weigh stations can be found here.
The recreational cobia season will close in state waters at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 1.
For specific state regulations, see Proclamation FF-13-2017 here.
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 Steve.Poland@ncdenr.gov.