Striped Mullet Supplement and MFC Meeting


The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) meets this week May 24-26th at the Beaufort Hotel located at 2440 Lennoxville Road, Beaufort, NC. 


Written public comment will be accepted online until 4pm today, May 22nd and can be submitted at the link below or dropped off at the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) Morehead City Headquarters Office.


In person public comment will be accepted at the meeting Wednesday, May 24th at 6:00pm and Thursday, May 25th at 9:00am. (No online commenting is available through the web conference.)


Once the meeting has begun you can listen on YouTube at this link:


Join the Meeting Online


The main agenda items being discussed this week are the Striped Mullet Supplement vote, review and vote on approval of Speckled Trout FMP Goals and Objectives, and False Albacore (Little Tunny) Data Update.


Striped Mullet Supplement 


The Striped Mullet Supplement will once again come before the MFC for a vote. At the last MFC meeting, NCFA and many of you reading this newsletter took a strong stance and spoke out against this unnecessary attempt to reduce commercial harvest of Striped Mullet. We all know this emergency action is not necessary at this time, especially when many people on the water are saying Striped Mullet seem to be everywhere. Even DMF has said that abundance of Striped Mullet observed in their sampling programs has increased in recent years!


At the February MFC meeting three motions were made on the issue of the Striped Mullet Supplement and all three failed. The majority of the commissioners stood strong and voted against this unnecessary emergency action and the Supplement did not pass. However, since a supermajority vote is needed to override a recommendation by the DMF Director for ending overfishing, this Supplement is still before the MFC and will be voted on once again.


Additional information was gathered by DMF to present the MFC and can be found here: Fishery Management Plans.


Two items in this document need your attention. 


The first was the three new closure options to choose from which give the southern area 2, 3, and 8 more days respectively than the northern area to fish than the original options that closed the whole state.



Season Closure Options




Minimum Reduction


Oct. 28 – Dec. 31

Oct. 30 – Dec 31



Nov. 7 – Dec. 31

Nov. 10 – Dec. 31



Nov. 13 – Dec. 31

Nov. 21 – Dec. 31



The second item that caught my attention was Table 8.


Striped Mullet commercial fishery participants and value lost by region at various commercial reduction levels based on 2019 data.



















Value lost per person







Total Value lost








What an insult to our hard-working commercial fisher men and women in this state! Does anyone reading this really think a dedicated person in the fall mullet fishing season is only making $1200 from the last of October through December? No one is putting the hard-earned hours in that the dedicated mullet fishermen do for a couple hundred dollars a week!


Come out, be heard! Thank the Commissioners for voting this Supplement down in February. Tell them again that a lot of this information presented does not represent what we know and see and ask them to vote down this unnecessary Supplement again!


Speckled Trout


The MFC will review and vote on the Speckled Trout (Spotted Seatrout) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) Amendment 1 draft goal and objectives and discuss potential management strategies. The Speckled Trout stock assessment has already been peer reviewed and approved for management. This vote will allow DMF to begin development of Amendment 1 to achieve the goals and objectives in collaboration with the Speckled Trout FMP Advisory Committee.


False Albacore (Little Tunny)


At the February MFC meeting the Commissioners passed a motion directing DMF staff to develop rulemaking language with management options for False Albacore starting with status quo and allowing for growth at various percentage points.


The current information being presented to the MFC are defining status quo as either a 3-, 5-, or 10-year average and defining growth as 125%, 150%, 175%, and 200% of the relative status quo chosen.


The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council has chosen not to manage this species, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has chosen not to manage this species, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has chosen not to manage this species. Even the state of Florida, who harvests the majority of False Albacore on the East Coast and manages other species no one else does has chosen multiple times not to manage this species! In Florida managers were quite adamant at two of these federal fisheries meetings recently expressing that the management of this species is not necessary at this time.


If MFC were to vote to manage False Albacore through the rulemaking process like they did with sheepshead, DMF authority to manage them would be limited to state waters. This makes sense with an inshore species like sheepshead, but with a fish that travels the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and the Mediterranean Sea what are we thinking trying to manage a robust species like False Albacore in the comparatively small area 0-3 miles off our coastline?


The only management option I keep seeing offered for management by the ones asking for this are to limit commercial fishing! Commercial landings are stable and there is room for growth in this sustainable fishery. There is no need to arbitrarily create rulemaking just to satisfy a few squeaky voices!


As always if you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. And we hope to see you and hear your voice this week in Beaufort!


Thomas Newman 

Fisheries Liaison