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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 02 2016 News

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: Feb. 8, 2016
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

New Habitat and Enhancement Section chief
has great vision for the future

MOREHEAD CITY — When Steve Murphey took over leadership of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Habitat and Enhancement Section in June, he had a clear vision of where he wanted the section to go.

“I wanted to expand our cultch planting ability and get a little outside the box with new and innovative approaches to habitat enhancement and shellfish leasing” said Murphey, who took the place of former section chief Craig Hardy, when Hardy retired in February 2015.

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 immediately begin to colonize on the material.
“This next season, we’re going to see a greatly expanded cultch planting program and a more aggressive and systematic approach to artificial reef and sanctuary development. We’re making some common sense changes in the shellfish lease program to make it more user-friendly, we’ve submitted proposals to quantify strategic habitat areas, and we’re going to be more efficient in our field operations.” Murphey said.

The Shellfish Rehabilitation Program received $300,000 for cultch planting this year, which will allow more planting in southern waters of the state that have seen heavy fishing pressure in the past several years.

Murphey’s section also supports the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan, whose expert staff will work closely with the Artificial Reef and Oyster Sanctuary programs in the assessment and long-term monitoring of the reefs.

Murphey has also implemented a pre-application site inspection for the shellfish lease program that allows staff to identify possible roadblocks to approval of the site, such as the presence of submerged aquatic vegetation. Staff can suggest alternatives if needed before the applicant sends in a non-refundable $200 application fee. This new approach could decrease the number of site visits staff needs to take, which would save time and money in travel expense, Murphey said.

His staff will be looking for a number of ways they can combine efforts to be more efficient.

“What I love about this section, and the whole reason I wanted to come back over here, is that this section produces a product that, at the end of the day, you can see,” Murphey said. “We go out and make the environment better.”

Murphey began his career at the N.C. Division of Marine Fishers in 1987 and holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

A photo of Murphey can be downloaded at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/012916-steve-murphey-photo.

You can contact Murphey Steve for an interview at 252-808-8046 or Steve.Murphey@ncdenr.gov.

nr-09-2016


Release: Immediate
Date: Feb. 8, 2016
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Division of Marine Fisheries names new Shellfish Sanitation
and Recreational Water Quality Section chief

MOREHEAD CITY — Shannon Jenkins is the new Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section chief at the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. Jenkins started his new job Jan. 13. He replaces former Section Chief Patti Fowler, who retired Jan. 1.

Jenkins has worked with the Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section in different capacities for 11 years, and already has some goals in mind.

“I want to utilize some newer technologies, especially related to notifying the public of where shellfish closures are,” Jenkins said.

He would like to develop a web mapping application, accessible through the division website, which will allow the public to zoom in on maps of shellfish harvest areas to see if there are any temporary closures. The current shellfish maps on the website delineate only permanently closed areas.

“It would allow the public to visualize our temporary closures,” Jenkins said. “As of now it’s primarily text-based descriptions in proclamations.

It would also allow them to see landmarks that we may have referenced in a proclamation,” Jenkins said.

In addition, Jenkins plans to continue to be proactive about emerging issues such as Vibrio bacteria and harmful algal blooms.

Jenkins began with the Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section in April 2004 as a shoreline surveyor in the Growing Areas Program, where he would walk the banks of coastal rivers, creeks and sounds to evaluate pollution sources that might impact shellfish waters.

A year later, he was promoted to sanitary survey coordinator where he evaluated shellfish waters for proper classifications. He became Growing Areas Program manager in October 2012.

Since June 2015, Jenkins has been the Inspections Program Manager, a job he took replacing Steve Murphey, who became chief of the division’s Habitat and Enhancement Section.

Hailing from Beaufort, Jenkins grew up around coastal waters, but it was not until his years as a biology major at EastJenk Carolina University that he knew he wanted to go into public health. His concentration was in microbiology and biotechnology. Jenkins liked the subject, and public health allowed him to use his degree out in the field.

He also wanted to stay close to home, so after graduating in 1994, he began working for the Carteret County Health Department. Later he was a health consultant with Subway Restaurants.

“I do like kind of the small town life,” Jenkins said. “I’m not a city person. I like to visit, but wouldn’t want to live there.”

Jenkins still lives in Beaufort with his wife, Whitney, and his 8-year-old son, Eli.

A photo of Jenkins can be downloaded at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/011516-jenkins-photo.

Contact Jenkins for an interview at 252-808-8148 or Shannon.Jenkins@ncdenr.gov.

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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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