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Marine Fisheries - 05 2015 NR Archives

Marine Fisheries

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News Release Archives - May 2015


Release: Immediate
Date: May 28, 2015
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Marine Fisheries Commission moves forward with
southern flounder management

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission moved forward with southern flounder and sheepshead management at its meeting last week.

The commission chose six potential management proposals to include in a draft supplement to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan that the commission will put out for public review.

The six options range in impacts to different fisheries and gears. They can be found on the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/may-2015-briefing-book.

The commission decided to hold a public comment period from June 10 to July 10 and include a public meeting as well. Details of the comment period, with the location, date and times of the meeting, will be announced later.

The commission also chose the following management measures for sheepshead:

  • 10-inch fork length minimum size limit (all commercial and recreational fisheries)
  • 10-fish bag limit (recreational)
  • 10-fish per person per day limit or per trip limit if multi-day trip (commercial spears and gigs)
  • 300-pound trip limit (all other commercial gears, except pound nets)

Sheepshead is a highly sought recreational fish and is caught in a variety of commercial fisheries. Until 2012, sheepshead was managed under the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Snapper-Grouper Fishery Management Plan, and was included in a 20-fish snapper-grouper recreational bag limit aggregate. When sheepshead was removed from the South Atlantic plan, management of the fishery was left up to the state.

The new sheepshead regulations will be implemented by a proclamation later this week, and be effective June 1.

In other business, the commission voted to:

  • Review the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan in 2017 instead of this year, aligning the review with a statutorily required five-year review schedule. The decision followed a presentation on the latest stock assessment that showed that the stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring.
  • Fund up to $10,000 from the Marine Fisheries Commission Conservation Fund for the James Francesconi Memorial Artificial Reef project
  • Begin the rulemaking process this summer to adopt an amendment to the N.C. Striped Mullet Fishery Management Plan later this year.
  • Proceed with a review of the N.C. Kingfish Fishery Management Plan as an information update, which means no management changes are proposed.

Audio of the meeting can be found online at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/may-2015-briefing-book. For more information, contact Nancy Fish in the Marine Fisheries Commission Office at 252-808-8021 or Nancy.Fish@ncdenr.gov.

nr-21-2015


Release: Immediate
Date: May 18, 2015
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Commercial fishing harvest increases,
recreational harvest decreases in 2014

MOREHEAD CITY — North Carolina’s commercial fishing harvest increased by 23 percent in 2014, boosted by higher landings of blue crabs, spiny dogfish and summer flounder.

Commercial fishermen sold 61.7 million pounds of fish and shellfish to North Carolina fish dealers last year, according the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Commercial Trip Ticket Program. It was the first year commercial fisheries landings rose since 2010, an upward tick in a long declining trend since the late 1990s.

The estimated dockside value of the commercial harvest climbed 19 percent in 2014 to $93.8 million, continuing an increasing trend since 2011.

Recreational fishermen harvested approximately 9.6 million fish, weighing about 9 million pounds in 2014, a 25 percent decrease in pounds from 2013, according to the division’s Coastal Angling Program. It is 29 percent lower than the average of recreational landings from 2010 to 2013.

Commercial
As usual, hard blue crabs topped the state’s commercial harvest in 2014, followed by spiny dogfish, shrimp, summer flounder and Atlantic croaker.

Commercial fishermen sold 2.9 million pounds of summer flounder to North Carolina dealers in 2014 – five times more than in 2013. The increase was a direct result of a more restrictive state policy on allowing boats to land their harvest in Virginia and other states. In previous years, the state allowed more boats to do this because of shallow waters in Oregon Inlet. It required North Carolina to transfer much of its summer flounder quota to other states, causing federal quota allocation concerns.

Hard blue crab harvests increased by 18 percent from 2013, as the number of fishing trips with crab pots rose by 5 percent and the average catch of hard blue crabs in the pot fishery increased by 42 pounds per trip. The estimated dockside value of blue crabs in North Carolina rose by 13 percent, as well.

Spiny dogfish landings rose by 88 percent to 5.7 million pounds due to an increase in the state’s allotted quota.

Shrimp harvests decreased by 4 percent from 2013 to 4.7 million pounds in 2014.

Atlantic croaker landings increased 36 percent to 2.6 million pounds.
 
Overall, commercial finfish harvests increased by 34 percent to 29.4 million pounds in 2014. Shellfish and crustacean harvests increased by 15 percent to 32 million pounds.

Recreational

The top recreationally harvested fish (in pounds) in 2014 were dolphin, bluefish, yellowfin tuna, spot and red drum.

Recreational dolphin landings decreased by 14 percent to 1.3 million pounds, bluefish landings decreased by 3 percent to 961,222 pounds, yellowfin tuna landings decreased by 37 percent to 913,785 pounds.

Red drum harvests decreased by 12 percent to 598,166 pounds, after the highest landings on record in 2013.

Spot, however, returned to the top five after an absence since 2007. Recreational spot harvests increased by 53 percent in 2014 to 704,445 pounds.

While the number of private boat and for-hire fishing trips dropped by 18.7 percent and 8 percent, respectively, the number of beach and bank fishing trips increased by 37.3 percent.

For a full landings report, click on the "Commercial Landings Query Tool" link at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/marine-fisheries-catch-statistics.

For more information, contact division License and Statistics Section Chief Don Hesselman at 252-808-8099 or Don.Hesselman@ncdenr.gov.

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