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Despite winter kills, speckled trout numbers still high

Speckled trout in this region have been depleted by cold spells during seven winters since 1995, a researcher said, but he added that their numbers appear to still be pretty high.

Michael Loeffler, marine fishery biologist for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, said Tuesday that a new stock assessment is being compiled. Loeffler, who is based in Elizabeth City, N.C., did not indicate when that assessment will be released.

Virginia and North Carolina have a joint stock assessment for speckled trout, said Joe Cimino, head of the Plans and Statistics Department for the Virginia Marine Resources Commission in Newport News. That assessment, last completed several years ago, is conducted by North Carolina researchers, using data gathered from tagging, reported catches, and other methods used in the two states.

Cimino said that, despite some speckled trout winter kills, the stock appears to be very healthy and there are no plans to close the fishery at this time.

About 10 fi...

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