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Marine Fisheries - 03 2020 News Releases

Marine Fisheries

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News Release Archives: March 2020
8-point rule

 

Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: March 26, 2020
Phone: 252-726-7021

Division of Marine Fisheries offices closed to the public;
fishing license sales continue by phone and mail

MOREHEAD CITY – N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries offices are closed to the public until further notice, based on the current guidance to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.

During this time, division offices are operating with limited personnel, but staff will continue to transact fishing license sales, to the extent possible, over the phone or by mail.

Members of the public who have questions should call one of the following numbers:

Morehead City
252-726-7021
Elizabeth City
252-264-3911
Manteo
252-473-1233 
Washington
252-975-3716
Wilmington
910-796-7215

Those with questions regarding fishing licenses also may email License@ncdenr.gov.

To facilitate efficient license transactions, with limited person-to-person interaction, members of the public are urged to download and complete the appropriate commercial fishing license application at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/commercial-fishing-license-information [portal.ncdenr.org] or for-hire license application at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/for-hire [portal.ncdenr.org].

Renewal packets for fiscal year 2021 commercial fishing and for-hire licenses will be sent to fishermen in the coming weeks. The division urges fishermen to renew their licenses through the mail as soon as possible beginning April 15. Fishermen should not wait for the June 30 deadline.

Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses can be purchased or renewed online at www.ncwildlife.org or by calling N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission at 1-888-248-6834 during office hours.

The division will continue to evaluate staffing circumstances as the guidance related to the COVID-19 crisis evolves.

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Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: March 25, 2020
Phone: 252-726-7021

Marine Fisheries accepting comments on two diamondback terrapin management areas; Southern Regional Advisory Committee will meet by teleconference on April 8

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is accepting public comments on two proposed diamondback terrapin management areas in the southern coastal area of the state, where fishermen will be required to use turtle excluders in crab pots.

The public may provide comment to the division (which will be submitted to the Marine Fisheries Commission) in the following two ways:

  1. Online Comments – Public comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. April 23 through an online format that can be accessed through a link on the Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan Information webpage
  2. Mailed Comments – Written comments may be mailed to Diamondback Terrapin Management Area Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Comments must be received by the division by 5 p.m. April 23

Emailed comments will not be accepted.

The Southern Regional Advisory Committee is scheduled to discuss and vote on the proposed areas at a meeting to be held at 6 p.m., April 8. The proposed areas must receive final approval by the Marine Fisheries Commission before being implemented.

Based on the current guidance to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, the April 8 meeting will be held by teleconference. The public may listen to the committee discussions online. A link to the webcast, as well as information on system requirements and testing, can be found here. Public comment will not be taken during the meeting; however, the public may provide written comments to the advisory committee in the following two ways:

  1. Online Comments – Public comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. April 6 through an online format by clicking here (online comments may be submitted in both places, for the advisory committee and for the division/Marine Fisheries Commission).
  2. Mailed Comments – Written comments may be mailed to Southern Regional Advisory Committee Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Comments must be received by the division by 5 p.m. April 6.

Emailed comments will not be accepted.

The proposed management areas are:

  1. The Masonboro Island Diamondback Terrapin Management Area, which lies entirely within, and shares nearly the entire boundary with, the Masonboro Island Estuarine Research Reserve and Natural Area. This area is also naturally bounded on the east by Masonboro Island, and on the west by the Intracoastal Waterway.
  2. The Bald Head Island Diamondback Terrapin Management Area, which is comprised of Zeke’s Island Estuarine Research Reserve in the northern portion of the management area and the Bald Head Island State Natural Area as the southern portion. This area is also naturally bounded by a barrier island to the east, and Bald Head island to the south. The western boundary of this management area follows “the wall,” which is a rock structure that separates the Cape Fear River from Buzzard Bay and serves as the boundary for the Zeke’s Island Estuarine Research Reserve. At the end of the wall, the boundary runs on a line southwesterly to the northern tip of Bald Head Island.

A meeting agenda and more specifics on the proposed management areas can be found on the Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan Information webpage. For more information contact division biologists Corrin Flora at 252-264-3911 or Joe Facendola at 910-796-7291.

 WHO:

Southern Regional Advisory Committee

WHAT:

Meeting on Diamondback Terrapin Management Areas

WHEN:

April 8 at 6 p.m.

WHERE:

Meeting by Teleconference
Click Here for Link and Instructions
 

nr-23-2020

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Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: March 23, 2020
Phone: 252-726-7021

Marine Fisheries Commission reopens application period for advisory committees

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission has reopened the application period for its two regional committees. In this extended period, the commission is chiefly seeking more applicants to fill the commercial fishing seats on the committees.

The two committees – Northern Regional Advisory Committee and the Southern Regional Advisory Committee – are comprised of commercial and recreational fishermen and scientists who advise the commission on various fisheries issues. They review matters referred to them by the commission, such as draft fishery management plans, and recommend management strategies. Committees may also bring issues pertaining to their region or subject matter to the commission’s attention.

To be qualified to serve on a committee, applicants may not have had a significant fisheries violation within the past three years.
     
Individuals interested in serving as an adviser should be willing to attend meetings at least once every two months and actively participate in the committee process, which includes reviewing scientific documents and issue papers to make recommendations on management strategies. Advisers will be reimbursed for travel and other expenses incurred in relation to their official duties.

The Marine Fisheries Commission chairman appoints members for three-year terms. Several terms expired in January.

Adviser applications are available online at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/mfc-advisory-committees [portal.ncdenr.org], at Division of Marine Fisheries’ offices or by calling 252-808-8022 or 252-726-7021. Applications should be returned by April 22, 2020 to the Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557, Attention: Dana Gillikin.

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CANCELLED: Public hearings on proposed shellfish leases in Carteret and Pender counties

MOREHEAD CITY – Three public hearings on proposed shellfish leases in Carteret and Pender counties have been cancelled based on the current guidance to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.

The cancelled meetings were scheduled for:

  • April 2 at the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office, Morehead City;
  • April 15 at the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office, Morehead City; and
  • April 22 at the Topsail Beach Town Hall, Topsail Beach.

The hearings will be rescheduled, and the date, time and location will be announced at a later date.

For the latest information on COVID-19 in North Carolina, go to: www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus or call 866-462-3821 for health-related questions.

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New oyster harvest control measures implemented


MOREHEAD CITY – New oyster harvest control measures will go into effect this spring in North Carolina state waters. The new regulations are preemptive measures to avoid illnesses related to oyster consumption.

Although, North Carolina’s public health record concerning shellfish-related illnesses is one of the best in the country, the number of Vibrio cases nationwide has increased in recent years. Vibrio are naturally occurring bacteria in coastal waters that can cause illness in humans if precautions are not taken during the warmer months of the year.

These new regulatory measures will provide increased public health protection that will help sustain the good reputation of North Carolina’s shellfish industry as aquaculture in the state expands.

These new regulations also will bring the state into conformity with guidance from the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, which is the federal/state/industry cooperative program recognized by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration and the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference for the sanitary control of shellfish produced and sold for human consumption.

Division of Marine Fisheries Director Steve Murphey implemented the new measures through Proclamation SS-1-2020 [portal.ncdenr.org] and Proclamation SS-2-2020 [portal.ncdenr.org], issued today.

Control measures in the proclamation include new requirements to:

  • Shade oysters harvested between May 1 and Oct. 14. This involves providing shade over harvested oysters or covering the oysters with a light-colored tarp or other non-toxic material while they are stored on the vessel, floating container when the oysters are not submerged, or a vehicle (this is already required for the harvest of clams in the summer).
  • Re-submerge oysters exposed to the air for greater than five hours between May 1 and Oct. 14 (this might occur during air-drying or de-fouling with gear such as OysterGro). The oysters must remain submerged for at least 14-days to abate Vibrio levels that may have been elevated.
  • Clarify that when working in intertidal waters the term “start of harvest” begins when the oyster is first exposed by the receding tide.
  • Clarify the tagging procedures when oysters leave the lease for tumbling or culling;
  • Re-submerge oysters moved from one growing area to another for at least 21 days prior to harvest (Certified shellfish dealers with a wet storage permit are exempt). This may prevent the closure of multiple growing areas in the event of an illness outbreak.

Previously implemented regulations pertaining to recording the start of harvest on the harvest tag and delivering the oysters to a licensed dealer within a specified time remain in effect.

For more information, contact Shannon Jenkins, chief of the division’s Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Quality Section 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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