north carolina marine & estuary foundation


30.76% = DEPLETED

How It’s Calculated

FINDEX measures the gaps between either target or threshold reference values necessary for population recovery and the current, or “terminal”, estimates of those values.

Here's the FINDEX formula used for Weakfish:

For Weakfish, the gap assessment compared threshold and terminal values of total mortality (fishing mortality + natural mortality) and spawning stock biomass from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s most recent stock assessment model. No target reference values for spawning stock biomass have been established for Weakfish. The terminal year in the stock assessment model was 2017.

  • (0.986 x 0.312) x 100 = 30.76
  • FINDEX = 30.76%
  • 30.76% = DEPLETED

What does Depleted mean?

Depleted indicates that the stock is overfished and severely impaired. Weakfish are being removed too rapidly from the stock, and the estimated number of spawning females in the population is well below threshold levels for a sustainable fishery. Factors contributing to Depleted FINDEX status include overfishing, low numbers of mature females, and poor recruitment. High rates of natural mortality have also been observed for Weakfish with predation and competition offered as potential sources.

Commercial Weakfish Trends

Commercial Weakfish Trends: The graph below illustrates commercial harvest trends for Weakfish from 1979 through 2020. In 2020, 422 commercial fishers recorded 4,656 trips harvesting 87,784 pounds of Weakfish valued at $114,784. Supporting data was sourced from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

Recreational Weakfish Trends

The graph below illustrates recreational harvest trends for Weakfish from 1983 through 2020. In 2020, recreational fishers harvested 82,124 Weakfish weighing 105,729 pounds. Supporting data was sourced from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

State Record

  • North Carolina’s state record Weakfish was landed at Nags Head in 1980 by Sterling Ammons
  • The record-breaking fish weighed 14 pounds, 14 ounces 

Did you know?

  • Weakfish are considered 90% mature at age 1, although older females spawn more frequently and carry more eggs
  • The maximum age recorded for a Weakfish was 17-years for a fish from Delaware Bay
  • Weakfish spawning in North Carolina occurs in sounds and estuaries and peaks from April to June

2022 Harvest Seasons for Weakfish

  • The recreational limit for Weakfish is one fish per day, with a 12-inch minimum size limit
  • Commercial harvest seasons for Weakfish can be found here 

What’s next?

FINDEX provides the most recent stock status updates for a variety of North Carolina’s finfish species. As new data is made available, FINDEX values will be revised. If you’re interested, new FINDEX profiles can be delivered to you directly if you subscribe to our newsletter.

Formed in 2017, the N.C. Marine and Estuary Foundation was established to support world-class fisheries and thriving coastal economies. In achieving this goal, the N.C. Marine and Estuary Foundation equips citizens, researchers, legislators, policymakers, stakeholders, and other organizations with high-quality scientific information to help solve challenging fisheries issues.

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