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Marine Fisheries - 05 2020 News Releases

Marine Fisheries

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News Release Archives: May 2020

8-point rule

 

Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: May 28, 2020
Phone: 252-726-7021

Deadline to renew current commercial/for-hire fishing licenses extended

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has extended the deadline to renew current commercial and for-hire fishing licenses by one month in response to COVID-19.

Fiscal year 2019-2020 commercial fishing licenses, for-hire fishing licenses, and permits issued by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries with an expiration of June 30, 2020 will remain valid until July 31, 2020.

This extension does not apply to fiscal year 2018-2019 commercial fishing licenses that expired on June 30, 2019. These license holders must purchase a fiscal year 2019-2020 license by June 30, 2020 to remain eligible to purchase a fiscal year 2020-2021 license.

The extension also does not apply to Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses or Recreational Commercial Gear Licenses.

Recent legislation pertaining to COVID-19 authorized state agencies to delay until Aug. 1 the renewal dates and associated fees for licenses and permits in the interest of public health, safety, and welfare and for the economic wellbeing of citizens and businesses (see NCGA Session Law 2020-3 [ncleg.gov], Section 4.38). The Division of Marine Fisheries has determined these circumstances apply.

“COVID-19 has had widespread economic impacts to North Carolina’s commercial and recreational for-hire fishing industries,” said division Director Steve Murphey. “This extension will allow fishermen more time to adjust financially to these circumstances.”

Division offices remain closed, and staff is facilitating license purchases and renewals by phone and mail.

License holders are still encouraged to renew their licenses through the mail. Renewal packets were mailed to each license holder earlier this spring.

Fishermen also may submit completed applications with payment (check, cashier’s check, or money order only) in drop boxes provided at the following division offices:

DMF Headquarters
3441 Arendell St.
Morehead City
Phone: 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632
Manteo Field Office
1021 Driftwood Dr.
Manteo
Phone 252-473-5734 or 800-405-7774
Pamlico District Office
943 Washington Square Mall, Highway 17
Washington
Phone: 252-946-6481 or 800-338-7804  
Southern District Office
127 Cardinal Drive Extension
Wilmington
Phone: 910-796-7215 or 800-248-4536

Fishermen who have questions should call their local license office at the number listed above or email License@ncdenr.gov.

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

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Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: May 27, 2020
Phone: 252-342-0642

MEDIA ADVISORY: Commercial Fishing Resource Funding committees to meet by webinar June 3;
Public may listen by telephone or listen and watch online

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Commercial Fishing Resource Funding Committee will meet jointly with the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Committee by webinar at 2 p.m. June 3.

The public may listen to the meeting by phone or listen and view presentations in real-time by joining online. Directions for calling in by phone or joining the webinar online, including information on system requirements and testing, are available here.

Public comment will not be accepted during the meeting. Members of the public may submit written comments to the commission in two ways:

  1. Online Comments – Public comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. June 1 through an online format that can be reached by clicking here.
  2. Mailed Comments – Written comments may be mailed to June CFRF Meeting Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Comments must be received by the division by 5 p.m. June 1.

Public comment will not be accepted through email.

The committees are scheduled to review and vote on objectives to include in a request for proposals document. A meeting agenda can be found here.

The Commercial Fishing Resource Fund receives money from an increase in commercial fishing license fees that took effect in 2015. The fund pays for observer coverage to fulfill the state’s obligations under incidental take permits for sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon under the federal Endangered Species Act. Any additional money left in the fund is to be used for projects to develop and support sustainable commercial fishing in the state.

Spending for these projects must be approved by the Commercial Fishing Resource Funding Committee, which is made up of six commercial fishing representatives, and the Marine Fisheries Commission Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Committee, comprised of members of the commission holding the three commercial fishing seats.

For more information, contact William Brantley with the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Administrative Services Office at 252-808-8015 or William.Brantley@ncdenr.gov.

WHO: N.C. Commercial Fishing Resource Funding Committee and the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Committee
WHAT: Meeting by Webinar
WHEN: June 3 at 2 p.m.
WHERE: Click Here for Webinar Link and Phone Number

 

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Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: May 15, 2020
Phone: 252-342-0642

Marine Fisheries Commission establishes first two state diamondback terrapin management areas

MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission on Thursday adopted the state’s first two diamondback terrapin management areas, where terrapin excluder devices will be required in crab pots.

These will help protect diamondback terrapins, which the state lists as a species of special concern in North Carolina.

The two areas – Masonboro Island Diamondback Terrapin Management Area and Bald Head Island Diamondback Terrapin Management Area – are in the southern coastal waters of the state. The management measures will be implemented by proclamation to take effect in early 2021, coinciding with the closed season so fishermen can modify their gear.

The commission also took steps toward requiring the type of hooks that can be used for some hook and line fishing. It directed the Division of Marine Fisheries to develop different options for rules regarding the use of circle hooks when fishing with natural bait and the use of barbless hooks when fishing with treble hooks. Once developed, the rule options would come back to the commission for its consideration.

In other action, the commission voted to:

  • Take preliminary steps toward developing rules to prohibit the repacking of imported crab meat into another container for resale within the state;
  • Approve notice of text and the corresponding fiscal analysis to begin the process of re-adoption of seven rules pertaining to recreational water quality monitoring to protect the public health of swimmers under a mandated periodic review of existing rules; and
  • Continue the suspension of rules for several fisheries proclamations pertaining to bluefish, gillnets, and crabs.
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Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: May 13, 2020
Phone: 252-342-0642

Division of Marine Fisheries seeks comments on
draft spending plan for federal Hurricane Florence relief

MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is seeking input from the public on a draft spending plan for $7.7 million in federal fisheries disaster aid for Hurricane Florence. The spending plan must be approved by NOAA Fisheries for the state to receive the funding.

The draft spending plan proposes disbursement of the funding through direct payments to affected seafood dealers and processors, bait and tackle shops, for-hire businesses, and ocean fishing piers that can document lost revenue or damages due to Hurricane Florence. These stakeholders were not compensated by earlier state-funded payments to commercial fishermen and shellfish harvesters.

The draft spending plan and other information pertaining to the Hurricane Florence federal fishery disaster declaration and assistance can be found online on the Hurricane Florence Federal Fishery Disaster Assistance Information Webpage.

The public may submit written comments on the plan through an online form that can be accessed through the Hurricane Florence Federal Fishery Disaster Assistance Information Webpage or submit comments by mail to:
Hurricane Florence Federal Fishery Disaster Assistance Comments
P.O. Box 769
Morehead City, N.C. 28557

Comments should be posted online or postmarked by 5 p.m. May 28. The division will not accept comments submitted by email.

Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina coast in September 2018, dropping nearly three feet of rain over a four-day period and causing widespread flooding that disrupted fishing and destroyed boats, gear, and buildings critical to fishing businesses. In a 2019 Hurricane Florence Fisheries Damage Assessment report, NOAA Fisheries estimated $38 million in damages to vessels and business, $56.5 million in lost revenues, and 3,500 fishing-related job losses.

In response to the storm the state appropriated $11.6 million to the Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Marine Fisheries that was distributed to commercial fishermen and shellfish harvesters to help compensate for income losses from harvest reductions. In tandem with the state response, Gov. Roy Cooper sought and won a federal disaster declaration for the state’s marine fishing industry, which began the process for federal disaster assistance.

Following the 2019 federal damage assessment, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries was notified in March 2020 that it is eligible to receive $7,728,000 in federal fishery disaster assistance after NOAA Fisheries approves the spending plan developed by the state. This public comment period is an integral part of the development of the spending plan.

 

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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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