Information on Southern Flounder Amendment 3

Frequently Asked Questions about Southern Flounder Management

Southern Flounder management continues under Amendment 2 while Amendment 3 is being revised. Management measures in Amendment 3 will be based on the 2019 stock assessment, requiring a minimum of 52% reduction in total removals starting in 2021 to rebuild the spawning stock biomass within 10 years.  The Marine Fisheries Commission voted on sector allocations at their February 2021 business meeting, and amended the allocation decision at the March 2021 special meeting. The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is updating draft Amendment 3, which is anticipated to be reviewed and potentially approved for public and standing and regional advisory committee review in November 2021.

For questions, please contact Michael Loeffler or Anne Markwith.

Amendment 3 Southern Flounder AC Workshop (October 2020)

Amendment 3 Southern Flounder AC Workshop (October 2020)

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries held Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Advisory Committee workshops over several days in October 2020 to review draft Amendment 3 to the plan. The southern flounder advisory committee assisted the division by providing input for consideration to refine management options in draft Amendment 3. Workshop-style meetings allow scientists, managers, and stakeholders to address questions, comments, and concerns more effectively and in a less formal setting. Based on the outcome of the workshops, the division revised draft Amendment 3 with the expectation that it would be presented to the Marine Fisheries Commission at the February 2021 business meeting. However, only the Recreational and Commercial Sector Allocation in the North Carolina Southern Flounder Fishery issue paper was presented. Based on Marine Fisheries Commission motions regarding allocation, draft Amendment 3 is under further revision. The updated document is anticipated to be available for the public prior to the November 2021 Marine Fisheries Commission business meeting.

News Release (Oct. 2, 2020)

Agenda for these meetings (October 2020)

Workshop Documents

Please note: all Amendment 3 workshop documents are draft and are subject to change. 

Section 1. Acknowledgements

Section 2. List of Acronyms

Section 4. Introduction

Section 5. Description of the Stock

Section 6. Ecosystem and Fishery Impacts

Section 7. Description of the Fisheries

Section 9. Research Recommendations

Section 10. Literature Cited

Appendix 2. Regulations of Other States

Appendix 3. North Carolina Fishery Management

Amendment 3 Scoping Period (December 2019)

Amendment 3 Scoping Period (December 2019)

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries held a public scoping period in December 2019 to solicit public comments on potential management strategies for Amendment 3. The primary management strategy for Amendment 3 is long-term sustainable harvest in the southern flounder fishery. A scoping document outlining the potential management strategies was developed for the public. Fisheries stakeholders provided comments throughout the scoping period.

Scoping Document: Management Strategies for Amendment 3 (Feb. 2020)

Amendment 2 to the Southern Flounder FMP (August 2019)

Amendment 2 to the Southern Flounder FMP (August 2019)

On Aug. 23, 2019, the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission adopted the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 as proposed by the Division of Marine Fisheries, giving the director of the Division of Marine Fisheries flexibility with the commercial and recreational seasons so long as they meet the statutorily required harvest reductions. Management in Amendment 2 called for a 62% reduction in 2019 and 72% reduction beginning in 2020 until Amendment 3 is adopted. 

These reductions are significant but necessary to increase the probability of successfully rebuilding this important recreational and commercial resource. Amendment 2 contained short-term management measures (seasons) that meet the statutory requirements; however, the approval of Amendment 2 specified the development of Amendment 3 to begin immediately to implement more comprehensive, long-term management measures to achieve sustainable harvest.

Results from the 2019 and 2020 fishing years did not meet the required reductions approved under Amendment 2. As a result, the division is reviewing the recreational and commercial seasons based on the harvest levels observed during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 (Sept. 2019)

Stock Assessment

Stock Assessment

The most recent coast-wide (North Carolina to the east coast of Florida) stock assessment for Southern Flounder determined the stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring. A minimum 31% reduction in total removals is needed to end the overfishing within two years. A minimum 52% reduction in total removals is needed to rebuild the female spawning stock biomass to sustainable levels and end the overfished status within 10 years. It is important to note that management measures for the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan will be based on the 2019 stock assessment until an update to the coast-wide stock assessment is completed in the future. An updated stock assessment will be completed when data from the impacts of management changes are available across the biological unit stock. 

Stock Assessment of Southern Flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma) in the South Atlantic, 1989-2017 (Jan. 2019)

Stock Assessment and Projections of Southern Flounder in the South Atlantic Presentation (June 2019)