New recreational slot limit implemented for striped bass caught in the ocean

Striped bass, also known as rock fish, are a popular catch in local waters from mid-fall to early spring. [photo courtesy Island Free Press]

A new slot limit for recreationally-caught striped bass will go into effect June 1 in North Carolina ocean waters to comply with action taken by the Atlantic State’s Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board.


Beginning on June 1, fishermen will be allowed to possess one striped bass per person per day that is at minimum 28 inches and not greater than 31 inches total length (tip of the nose to the tip of the compressed tail).
For the specific regulation, see Proclamation FF-25-2023.


Until the slot limit takes effect on June 1, the slot size limit for ocean striped bass remains 28 inches minimum total length to less than 35 inches total length, with a one fish possession limit.

The requirement to use a non-offset circle hook when using live or natural bait will remain in effect after June 1, and it will remain illegal to gaff striped bass.

North Carolina ocean waters extend out to 3 miles from shore. It is illegal to fish for, harvest, or possess striped bass in federal waters.


The Atlantic State’s Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board recently approved emergency action requiring a 31-inch maximum size limit for striped bass recreational fisheries from Maine to North Carolina. The emergency action will remain in effect until at least Oct. 28, 2023, and can be renewed for up to two additional years.


This action responds to the magnitude of the 2022 coast wide recreational harvest, which was nearly double that of 2021. New stock rebuilding projections estimate the probability of the spawning stock rebuilding to its biomass target by 2029 drops from 97% under the lower 2021 fishing mortality rate to less than 15% if the higher 2022 fishing mortality rate continues each year. The coast wide stock of striped bass is currently overfished.


For additional information, see the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission news release.


The recreational regulations for striped bass in internal coastal waters remain unchanged.


For more information, contact Division of Marine Fisheries biologist Charlton Godwin at 252-381-6008 or