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From May to November king mackerel tournaments are big business along the state's coast. While events like Southport's U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament and the Wrightsville Beach King Mackerel Tournament award large prizes, they also benefit local economies. Motels, restaurants, bait and tackle shops, and shops in general benefit. The Atlantic Beach Tournament brings $1.6 million into the local economy.
The state/federal cooperative King Mackerel tagging program in the coastal waters of North Carolina expects to release over five-hundred tagged King Mackerel this season. Success of the project depends upon fishermen catching the tagged fish and reporting recaptures.