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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 04 2015 NR Archives

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: April 21, 2015
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021 

New fisheries rules go into effect May 1

MOREHEAD CITY — Several new rules pertaining to various issues, including implementation of the shrimp, river herring, eel and bay scallop fishery management plans, will go into effect May 1.

Rules implementing an amendment to the N.C. Shrimp Fishery Management Plan include:

  • Modifying the definition of mesh length to apply to diamond-mesh and square-mesh nets in support of a management strategy to require an additional bycatch reduction device in skimmer and otter trawls, which can include a square-mesh T-90 panel.
  • Codifying an existing management strategy prohibiting the use of trawl nets, except skimmer trawls, upstream of the N.C. 172 Bridge over the New River in Onslow County to continue reducing bycatch.
  • Clarifying the Division of Marine Fisheries director’s proclamation authority for shrimp harvest restrictions;
  • Establishing a maximum combined headrope length of 220 feet in all internal coastal waters where there are no existing maximum combined headrope requirements, allowing for a phase-out period until Jan. 1, 2017.
  • Allowing cast-netting of shrimp in all areas otherwise closed to shrimping and increasing the harvest limit in these areas to 4 quarts, heads-on, or 2 ½ quarts, heads-off.
  • Prohibiting shrimp trawling in the Intracoastal Waterway channel from the Sunset Beach Bridge to the South Carolina line, including the Shallotte River, Eastern Channel and lower Calabash River, to protect small shrimp.

Rules implementing an amendment to the N.C. River Herring Fishery Management Plan include:

  • Removing blueback herring and alewife from the exemption for possession of mutilated finfish.
  • Changing the boundary coordinates of the Anadromous Fish Spawning Area to reflect companion changes previously made to the Albemarle Sound and Roanoke River management areas.
  • Relocating the description and boundaries of the Chowan River and Albemarle Sound River Herring Management Areas from Subchapter 03J to Subchapter 03R in the rulebook for improved organization and public clarity.

Rules Implementing Addendum III to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Fishery Management Plan for American Eel include:

  • Requiring a minimum mesh length of one-half by one-half inch for eel pots, with a phase-in period until Jan. 1, 2017.
  • Increasing the American eel minimum size limit to 9 inches, decreasing the recreational bag limit to 25 fish and implementing a Sept. 1 - Dec. 31 season closure, unless the eels are taken with baited pots.

Rules to implement an amendment to the N.C. Bay Scallop Fishery Management Plan include:

  • Making bay scallops rules consistent with those of other shellfish species grown on private bottom by exempting leaseholders and aquaculture operations from the public bottom commercial season, gear and harvest limits and allowing for the sale of cultured bay scallops.
  • Eliminating the Aug. 1 through Sept. 15 bay scallop season and lower the maximum daily commercial harvest possession limit to be consistent with adaptive management trip limit measures.

Rules impacting for-hire fishing operations and ocean fishing piers include:

  • Eliminating the current For-Hire Permit and Coastal Recreational Fishing License blanket licenses and replace them with a captain’s for-hire license, a blanket for-hire vessel license, and a non-blanket for-hire vessel license, to be consistent with current state law.
  • Combining two separate ocean pier licenses into one Ocean Fishing Pier License with the same net cost.

Other rules effective May 1 include:

  • Updating and relocating a rule that provides the Division of Marine Fisheries director’s authority to issue proclamations to resolve user conflicts concerning public trust resources.
  • Updating the name of a canal in Brunswick County.
  • Removing the permit fee for the Atlantic Ocean Striped Bass Commercial Gear Permit, which is now provided in statute, and eliminating the Nov. 1 deadline to purchase the annual permit.
  • Correcting an error in the inland/coastal waters boundary line in Queens Creek, Onslow County.
  • Correcting grammatical errors and spacing in several rules.
  • Modifying rules pertaining to the Division of Marine Fisheries director’s proclamation authority, for consistency.


The rules will be included in 2015 North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission Rules (2015 rulebook) and will be posted online at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/rules-and-regulations by May 1.

For more information contact Catherine Blum, with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, at 252-808-8014 or Catherine.Blum@ncdenr.gov.

nr-14-15


Release: Immediate
Date: April 17, 2015
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Fundraising underway to purchase ship to honor former
artificial reef coordinator

MOREHEAD CITY — Several divers and fishermen want to honor former Artificial Reef Coordinator Jim Francesconi by sinking a ship in his name.

They have started a fundraising campaign to help pay for the purchase of a vessel and the towing, cleaning and sinking process.

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has agreed to the plan and hopes to schedule the project for mid-July in commemoration of Francesconi’s passing.

Francesconi, who began working for the division in 1987, headed the Artificial Reef Program for 14 years before losing a battle with leukemia on July 18, 2014.

His efforts resulted in hundreds of enhancements to artificial reefs from the Outer Banks to Long Bay, including the creation of the New River Reef (AR-398) near Jacksonville, the Jim Knight Reef (AR-430) near Oak Island and the Bob Black Reef (AR-400) near Frying Pan Tower. He also oversaw the sinking of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter SPAR, the Tug Titan, the Captain Greg Mickey, the Tug Pawtucket, the Admiral Charlie, and two U.S. Coast Guard Falcon aircraft.

The fundraising group is headed by Bobby Purifoy of Olympus Dive Center in Morehead City, Debby Boyce of Discovery Diving in Beaufort and Carteret County diver Steve Broadhurst. They have set up accounts for donations with the East Carolina Artificial Reef Association and the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.

The group wants to purchase a 180- to 200-foot vessel, rename it after Francesconi, and sink it on the Howard Chapin Reef (AR-330), about 12 miles outside of Beaufort Inlet.

About $70,000 of the cost will come from a special fund that receives money from the sale of SCUBA license plates, created in 2005 through the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles license plate program to develop North Carolina’s artificial reefs. The division estimates another $50,000 is needed to make the project a reality.

Donations may be made through the East Carolina Artificial Reef Association at 252-728-2265 and the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament at 252-247-3575. Donations may be made electronically to the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament account through http://www.gofundme.com/jjf-reef-project.

For more information about the fundraising group, contact Purifoy at robert@olympusdiving.com, Boyce at debby.boyce@discoverydiving.edu or Broadhurst at steve@carolinareef.org.

For more information about the Artificial Reef Program or details of the ship’s sinking, contact Gregg Bodnar with the Division of Marine Fisheries Artificial Reef Program at 252-808-8053 or Gregg.Bodnar@ncdenr.gov.

nr-13-2015

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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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