north carolina marine & estuary foundation

Red Drum

146% = STABLE

How It’s Calculated

For Red Drum, the FINDEX gap assessment compared Threshold and Terminal values of static Spawning Potential Ratio (sSPR, 3-year average) from the most recent stock assessment model developed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The Threshold reference value used in the model to determine overfishing status was sSPR 30%. The Terminal year in the stock assessment model was 2013. The model estimated sSPR in 2013 to be 43.8% for the “northern stock” of Red Drum which includes North Carolina.

  • (0.438/0.30) x 100 = 146
  • FINDEX = 146%
  • 146% = STABLE

What does Stable mean?

Stable means the most recent stock conditions (2013 data in the case of Red Drum) have either met or exceeded the biological reference values established in the fishery management plan to end overfishing. FINDEX designation as “Stable” is assigned to any stock with a value reaching 100%. Note a significant time lag associated with updates to stock assessments for most of North Carolina’s fisheries. Periods between updates are usually 5 years and sometimes 10+ years. For this reason, FINDEX calculations may not accurately describe current conditions – instead, FINDEX evaluates the most recent scientific data available.

Commercial Trends

The graph below illustrates commercial trends for Red Drum from 1990 through 2022. In 2022, commercial fishers harvested 175,029 pounds of Red Drum valued at $531,001. Supporting data was sourced from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

No Data Found

Recreational Trends

The graph below illustrates recreational trends for Red Drum from 1990 through 2022. In 2022, recreational fishers harvested an estimated 336,280 Red Drum weighing 1,615,108 pounds. Supporting data was collected through the Marine Recreational Information Program as sourced from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality

No Data Found

State Record

  • North Carolina’s state record Red Drum was landed off Hatteras Island near Avon in 1984 by David Deuel
  • The record-breaking fish, which weighed 94 pounds and 2 ounces, is also the all-tackle World Record

Did you know?

  • In 1971, the North Carolina General Assembly designated Red Drum as the State’s official saltwater fish
  • The term “puppy drum” is often used to refer to smaller Red Drum aged 1-4 years
  • The maximum age observed for a Red Drum in North Carolina was 62 years for a male weighing nearly 88 pounds
  • Red Drum average 12-14 inches at age 1 and reach harvestable size (18 inches) by age 2

2022 Harvest Seasons for Red Drum

  • The recreational limit for Red Drum is currently 1 fish per day, between 18 to 27 inches total length. Circle hook rules are in effect when fishing with natural bait in the summer
  • Commercial Red Drum seasons in North Carolina are split to allow 100,000 pounds of harvest from May through August, and 150,000 pounds of harvest from September through April
  • Proclamations for Red Drum can be found here

What’s next?

As our team diligently refines FINDEX, we are committed to delivering the most recent stock status updates for North Carolina’s diverse finfish species. Subscribe below to receive a stream of inshore insights and stay current with our coastal initiatives. 

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