North Carolina Sea Grant

August 14, 2009 | David Green

north carolina fisheries

Red drum are known by their reddish-brown color and the fact that during spawning time, males produce a drum-like noise by vibrating a muscle in their swim bladder. Red drum are found in coastal and estuarine waters from Massachusetts to Mexico, feeding on the bottomĀ for crabs, shrimp, menhaden, mullet and spot. Most red drum reach sexual maturity during the fourth year, when they are about 30 to 37 inches long.

In 1971, the North Carolina General Assembly designated red drum as the state saltwater fish. The NC Red Drum Fishery Management Plan was approved in 2001. A major component was to prohibit a directed commercial fishery, allowing red drum to be taken only as a by-catch in other fisheries. As a result, the future outlook for red drum is very good. This is a positive outcome for both commercial and recreational fishermen.

Contributed by David Green.

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