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Red drum (redfish, channel bass) are a prized species by many anglers on the Atlantic Coast. Much like striped bass, juvenile fish spend their first few years in estuaries. The adults leave the estuary and become part of the coastal migratory stock. Red drum can live up to 60 years and reach up to 90lbs.
The stock is managed as two separate entities. There is a southern stock that exists from South Carolina to Florida. The northern stock is managed from North Carolina to New Jersey. According to tagging and dna studies, the two stocks rarely mix.
The most recent stock assessment indicates that overfishing is not occurring for either stock. In the Atlantic, red drum have a maximum size of 27 inches. Anything over this size must be released. This practice allows for protection of the large females which are critical to the stability of the species. Red drum require healthy ecosystems, especially salt marshes, in order to maintain an abundant population.