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MOREHEAD CITY – Commercial flounder fishermen will get 14 extra days to make up for below average harvests this fall.

At the request of the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission, Fisheries Director Louis Daniel issued a proclamation Tuesday extending the commercial Southern flounder season to Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. this year. The Southern flounder season normally closes after Nov. 30, under state management measures adopted in 2005.

The MFC made the request after several commercial fishermen asked for the extension at last week’s MFC meeting in Ocracoke. The fishermen reasoned that extenuating circumstances resulted in poor landings in October.

For one, water temperatures were unseasonably warm, causing the fish to stay in the upper estuaries and rivers later than normal, the fishermen said. Two, an unusual amount of animal grass (Sauerkraut bryozoan) moved from offshore into inshore waters, clogging fishermen’s nets from Core Sound through the Outer Banks and hindering fishing.

Fishermen added that last week's closure of the Pamlico Sound Gill Net Restricted Area, which came due to sea turtle interactions, will likely reduce landings further.

The season extension pertains to all North Carolina internal coastal waters; however, the Pamlico Sound Gill Net Restricted Area will remain closed to large-mesh gill nets until Dec. 15.

For more information, contact Chris Batsavage by phone at (252) 726-7021 or (800) 682-2632 or by e-mail at [email protected].
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