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north carolina marine & estuary foundation

Weakfish

30.76% = DEPLETED

How It’s Calculated

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 Trends

The graph below illustrates commercial trends for Weakfish from 1990 through 2022. In 2022, commercial fishers harvested 62,196 pounds of Weakfish valued at $86,210. Supporting data was sourced from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

No Data Found

Recreational Trends

The graph below illustrates recreational trends for Weakfish from 1990 through 2022. In 2022, recreational fishers harvested an estimated 112,095 Weakfish weighing 105,060 pounds. Supporting data was sourced from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

No Data Found

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?

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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