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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 03 2016 NR Archives

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: March 11, 2016
Contact: NOAA Fisheries Service / Sustainable Fisheries Division
Phone: 727-824-5305

NOAA Fisheries hosts public meetings in April to discuss
potential skimmer trawl regulations in Southeast U.S.

Agency also preparing Environmental Impact Statement

NOAA Fisheries is considering new regulations in the shrimp fishery of the southeastern United States based on information indicating sea turtles are vulnerable to capture by skimmer trawls and tow times may not be as effective in reducing bycatch-related mortality as turtle excluder devices. The agency will host five public meetings around the region to discuss and receive input from fishermen and other constituents on alternatives to reduce sea turtle bycatch and mortality.

These public meetings are the first stage in a multi-step process required by the National Environmental Policy Act to ensure that Federal agencies evaluate the environmental impacts of major Federal actions. During these meetings, the public is provided with an opportunity to assist us in determining the scope of issues that require analysis. The analysis of issues and the environmental impacts of the proposed actions will be presented in a draft Environmental Impact Statement, which will be made available for public comment. The notice of intent to prepare the draft statement will be published in the Federal Register on March 15, 2016.

Additionally, we prepared a scoping document and a list of frequently asked questions as aids to the public on the upcoming scoping process. These documents are available on the NOAA Fisheries website at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/index.html. The scoping document describes the major issues, current management and legal requirements, and identifies potential management measures to reduce interactions, and in particular, lethal interactions, between sea turtles and trawl fisheries.

The dates, times, and locations of the five meetings in April are as follows:

1.Morehead City, N.C. — April 13, 2016, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m., Crystal Coast Civic Center, 3505 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC 28557.

2.Larose, LA — April 18, 2016, 4 p.m. - 6 p.m., Larose Regional Park and Civic Center, 307 East 5th Street, Larose, LA 70373.

3.Belle Chasse, La. — April 19, 2016, 4 p.m. - 6 p.m., Belle Chasse Community Center, 8398 Highway 23, Belle Chasse, LA 70037.

4.Biloxi, Ms. — April 20, 2016, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m., Biloxi Visitor's Center, 1050 Beach Boulevard, Biloxi, MS 39530.

5.Bayou La Batre, Al. — April 21, 2016, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m., Bayou La Batre Community Center, 12745 Padgett Switch Road, Bayou La Batre, AL 36509.

Scoping comments may also be submitted during a concurrent 45-day comment period. When we publish the draft EIS, it will also have a 45-day public comment period.

To receive fishery bulletins via e-mail, please sign up through Constant Contact at http://bit.ly/HQDUEU. You may also sign up for Constant Contact by visiting our Web site http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov (sign-up option is located on the left side of the page). The electronic copy of the bulletin will be delivered to you faster than the paper copy, is in color, features informational links, and reduces paper use.

FB16-01


Release: Immediate
Date: March 9, 2016
Contact: NOAA Fisheries Service / Sustainable Fisheries Division
Phone: 727-824-5305

NOAA Fisheries Announces the Atlantic Migratory Group (Georgia to New York) Cobia Recreational Fishing Season will close on June 20, 2016

The recreational harvest of Atlantic migratory group cobia (from Georgia to New York) will close at 12:01 a.m. on June 20, 2016. Recreational harvest of cobia will reopen on January 1, 2017.

The Atlantic migratory group includes cobia from Georgia through New York. Cobia off the east coast of Florida are part of the Gulf of Mexico migratory group. There are separate annual catch limits for the recreational and commercial sectors of Atlantic migratory group cobia. If the annual catch limits are exceeded, accountability measures are in place to ensure overfishing does not occur. If the Atlantic migratory group cobia recreational and total (recreational and commercial combined) annual catch limits are exceeded, NOAA Fisheries is required to reduce the length of the recreational fishing season in the following fishing year.

In 2015, both the recreational and the total annual catch limits of Atlantic migratory group cobia were exceeded. Thus, the accountability measure is triggered for 2016. Because the commercial annual catch limit was not exceeded, this closure is only for the recreational sector. During the closure, recreational harvest or possession of cobia is prohibited.

This closure is required by regulations implemented under the Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region and is necessary to protect the cobia resource.

This bulletin provides only a summary of the existing regulations. Full regulations can be found in the Federal Register. For more information, please see frequently asked questions.

FB16-018


Release: Immediate
Date: March 9, 2016
Contact: NOAA Fisheries Service / Sustainable Fisheries Division
Phone: 727-824-5305

Commercial Harvest for the Longline Component of Golden Tilefish
in South Atlantic Waters Will Close on March 15, 2016

The commercial longline component of golden tilefish harvest in South Atlantic waters will close at 12:01 a.m. (local time) March 15, 2016. Commercial harvest will reopen at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on January 1, 2017. The 2015 longline component commercial catch limit is 405,971 pounds gutted weight. Reports indicate the longline catch limit will be met by March 15, 2016.

The operator of a vessel that has been issued a federal commercial permit for snapper-grouper and a golden tilefish longline endorsement that is landing golden tilefish for sale must have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such golden tilefish prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, March 15, 2016.

During the commercial longline closure:

  • Golden tilefish may still be harvested commercially using hook-and-line gear.
  • Vessels with a golden tilefish longline endorsement are not eligible to harvest golden tilefish using hook-and-line gear.
  • The commercial longline closure applies in both state and federal waters.

This closure is necessary to protect the snapper-grouper resource.

FB16-017

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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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