MOREHEAD CITY | The state Division of Marine Fisheries has announced that the recreational cobia season closes in state waters on Sept. 30.

Once the season closes, anglers must immediately release any cobia they catch.

Under the regulations in place, anglers fishing from private boats may only fish for cobia on Mondays, Wednesday and Saturdays under the daily possession limits, the release states. Since existing regulations remain in effect for the remainder of the week, that makes today the last day of the cobia season for those fishing on a private boat. Cobia season in federal waters has been closed since June 20 because recreational fishermen exceeded the annual catch limit in 2015. Under the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s accountability measures, when the annual catch limit is exceeded in one year, the length of the following year’s season must be reduced to ensure that the recreational harvest does not exceed that year’s annual catch limit.

The federal government encouraged states to remain consistent with these measures and close state waters for recreational cobia season on June 20, as well. The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission, however, sought to avoid shutting the fishery down in the summer and adopted a Sept. 30 closure and stricter regulations.

Recreational cobia season will reopen in state and federal waters on Jan. 1. 

For more information, contact Michelle Duval with the Division of Marine Fisheries at 252-808-8011 or Michelle.Duval@ncdenr.gov.