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Marine Fisheries - 02 2016 News

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News Release Archives — Feb. 2016


Release: Immediate
Date: Feb. 25, 2016
Contact: NOAA Fisheries Service
Phone: 727-824-5305

Trip Limit Decreased to 500 Pounds per Trip for Commercial Harvest
of Vermilion Snapper in the South Atlantic

The daily trip limit for the commercial harvest of vermilion snapper in the South Atlantic is reduced from 1,000 pounds gutted weight to 500 pounds gutted weight, effective 12:01 a.m. (local time) March 2, 2016. NOAA Fisheries has determined 75 percent of the January-June quota of 388,703 pounds gutted weight will be landed by March 2, 2016.

Reduction of the commercial vermilion snapper trip limit in the South Atlantic complies with regulations implemented under the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region. The 500-pound gutted weight trip limit applies to vessels with a South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit fishing for vermilion snapper in or from the federal waters in the South Atlantic region. The 500-pound gutted weight trip limit will remain in effect through June 30, 2016 (the end of the January - June fishing season).

FB16-011


Release: Immediate
Date: Feb. 24, 2016
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Fisheries Commission lowers cobia bag limit, proposes lower oyster
harvest limit for Shellfish License holders

MOREHEAD CITY — Recreational fishermen should expect to see a reduced cobia bag limit starting Saturday and a season closure this summer.

The Marine Fisheries Commission voted at its meeting last week to lower the cobia daily recreational bag limit to one fish per person. The current recreational bag limit for cobia is two fish per person.

The commission's vote is intended to extend the recreational cobia season by a few days this summer and to keep the recreational harvest below the federal annual catch limit this year, in an effort to avoid a closure next summer.

Recreational fishermen exceeded the annual catch limit of 630,000 pounds for cobia in 2015. The preliminary estimate of harvest for 2015 is 1.54 million pounds. Under the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's accountability measures, when the annual catch limit is exceeded in one year, the length of the following year’s season must be reduced to ensure that the recreational harvest does not exceed that year’s annual catch limit.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries staff has informed the National Marine Fisheries Service staff about the action the commission took. The National Marine Fisheries Service is responsible for determining the length of the cobia season and has agreed to consider the reduced bag limit in calculating the length of the season closure.

For more information on the new cobia size limit, see Proclamation FF-09-2016 at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.

The commission also proposed lowering the daily harvest limit of oysters for those fishing under a commercial Shellfish License. The proposal would lower the daily harvest limit statewide to two bushels per person, with a maximum of four bushels per vessel. The proposed changes would not apply to oyster leases or to those who hold Standard Commercial Fishing Licenses.

The commission made the proposal as part of a draft amendment to the Oyster Fishery Management Plan and postponed preliminary approval of the plan to allow public comment, which be accepted at regional advisory committee meetings in April.

In other business, the commission voted to:

  • Nominate Joseph Andrew High and Randy McKinley for the obligatory seat on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
  • Adopt the 2015 Coastal Habitat Protection Plan and source document to send to the secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality and to the N.C. General Assembly for approval.
  • Proceed with a declaratory ruling to allow American Eel Farm to harvest, possess and sell undersized eel in North Carolina for grow out under the North Carolina Aquaculture Plan for American Eel.
  • Convene a sub-committee consisting of at least four commissioners to discuss the issues associated with defining commercial fishermen and report its findings to the full commission in August.
  • Delegate authority to the commission’s Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Committee to develop and implement a memorandum of understanding with the North Carolina Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Funding Committee that sets procedures for agreeing to and authorizing disbursements from the fund.

nr-15-2016


Release: Immediate
Date: Feb. 24, 2016
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Cultch planting meetings scheduled

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold seven public meetings in March to receive suggestions and comments on cultch planting.

Cultch planting involves strategically placing shells and rock to enhance shellfish habitat in potentially productive shellfish areas. Oysters, clams and other aquatic life are attracted to the cultch and begin to immediately colonize on the material.

In an effort to improve the cultch planting program, the division’s Shellfish Rehabilitation staff holds annual meetings to provide interested parties the opportunity to give input on planting sites, methods, materials and quantities.

The meetings will be held on the following dates and locations:

March 1 at 6 p.m.                          
North Topsail Beach Town Hall
2008 Loggerhead Court, North Topsail Beach

March 2 at 6 p.m.
N.C. Department of Environmental Quality
Wilmington Regional Office
127 Cardinal Drive Extension, Wilmington

March 3 at 6:00 p.m.
Varnamtown Town Hall
100 Varnamtown Road SW, Supply

March 7 at 6 p.m.
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries
Manteo Office
1021 Driftwood Drive, Manteo

March 8 at 6 p.m.
Hyde County Government Center
30 Oyster Creek Road, Swan Quarter

March 9 at 6 p.m.
Pamlico County Courthouse
202 Main St., Bayboro

March 10 at 6 p.m.            
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries
Central District Office
5285 Highway 70 West, Morehead City

For more information, contact Garry Wright, Habitat and Enhancement Section biologist supervisor, at 252-808-8058 or Garry.Wright@ncdenr.gov.

nr-14-2016


Release: Immediate
Date: Feb. 22, 2016
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Public meeting scheduled on monkfish fishery

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a public meeting to discuss the Atlantic Ocean monkfish large mesh gill net fishery at 6 p.m. March 3 at the division’s Manteo Office, 1021 Driftwood Drive, Manteo.

The purpose of the meeting is for division staff to explain to fishermen the permit requirements and other conditions for participation in the fishery.

The permit will allow for monitoring of the fishery, thereby reducing the threat of gill net interactions with marine mammals, Atlantic sturgeon or sea turtles while the traditional monkfish fishery continues in North Carolina.

The fishery is scheduled to open March 16 and will close no later than April 14. The fishery is limited to a specified area between the Virginia state line and Wimble Shoals, off the coast at Rodanthe. The season may close by proclamation prior to April 14 if sea surface temperatures exceed 52 degrees, when sea turtles become more active, or if there are interactions with marine mammals, Atlantic sturgeon, or sea turtles.

For more information, contact Beth Egbert, division biologist, at 252-473-5734 or Beth.Egbert@ncdenr.gov.

nr-13-2016

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N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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