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Marine Fisheries - 06 2015 News Release Archives

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: June 3, 2015
Contact: Jennifer Goebel
Phone: 978-281-9175

NOAA Fisheries Announces Emergency Action for Blueline Tilefish in
Greater Atlantic Region Effective June 4th

Because we understand that commercial and recreational Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) vessels may occasionally catch blueline tilefish north of the Virginia/North Carolina border, we want to make sure Atlantic HMS permit holders are aware of the following action.

Today, NOAA Fisheries announces emergency management measures for the blueline tilefish fishery in the Greater Atlantic Region at the recommendation of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. The purpose of this emergency action is to limit fishing mortality on unregulated blueline tilefish.

The measures, which go into effect Thursday, June 4 for vessels fishing north of the Virginia/North Carolina border, are:

  • Commercial possession limit of 300 pounds whole weight per trip;
  • Recreational limit of 7 fish per person, per trip;
  • Requirement that commercial and charter/party vessels must hold a valid open access golden tilefish permits to land blueline tilefish.

This temporary rule will be in place for 6 months, and may be extended for an additional 6 months, while the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic Councils develop a long-term management plan for the stock.

Read the background on the rule, the permit holder letter,and the emergency rule as filed in the FederalRegister.

We are accepting comments on this rule through Monday, July 6, online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal beginning tomorrow, or via regular mail to NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope "Comments on Blueline Tilefish Emergency."

Vessels fishing for or possessing blueline tilefish south of the Virginia/North Carolina border must follow regulations in place for the Southeast Region.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, at 978-281-9175 or

Release: Immediate
Date: June 3, 2015
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Marine Fisheries Commission announces public comment period
for flounder management proposals

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will accept public comments between June 10-July 10 on six proposals for southern flounder management.

The public may submit comments in writing and at a public meeting from 1-5 p.m. June 17 at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center, 203 South Front St., New Bern.

At the meeting, members of the public may speak for three minutes each until time runs out. Due to the time constraint, the commission chairman urges individuals to bring written comments to submit in case the meeting ends before they have an opportunity to speak.

Beginning June 10, written comments may be submitted electronically to

Written comments may also be submitted to:

Southern Flounder Comments
c/o Nancy Fish
P.O. Box 769
Morehead City, N.C. 28557

No oral comments will be accepted outside of the public meeting for this comment period.

The six proposals are part of a draft supplement to the N.C. Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan. The proposals can be found online at under Hot Topics.

The commission is scheduled to vote on what management measures to implement at its August business meeting in Raleigh.


Release: Immediate
Date: June 2, 2015
Contact: Karla Gore
Phone: 727-824-5305

NOAA Fisheries Announces Changes for Snapper-Grouper Species and
Gray Triggerfish Management Measures

The final rule for Amendment 29 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region published on June 1, 2015 (80 FR 30947). Regulations will be effective on July 1, 2015.

The final rule for Amendment 29 will:

  • Update the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's acceptable biological catch control rule to incorporate a new methodology for determining the acceptable biological catch of unassessed species.
  • Adjust the acceptable biological catch value for 14 unassessed snapper-grouper species.
  • Revise the annual catch limits for three species complexes and four snapper-grouper species.
  • Establish a 12-inch fork length minimum size limit for gray triggerfish in federal waters off North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia for both the commercial and recreational sectors.
  • Increase the commercial and recreational minimum size limit for gray triggerfish off the east coast of Florida from 12-inches to 14-inches fork length.
  • Establish a commercial split season for gray triggerfish.
  • Establish a 1,000 pound whole weight commercial trip limits for gray triggerfish.

Commercial Annual Catch Limit for Gray Triggerfish

Commercial harvest for gray triggerfish will open on July 1, 2015, and will close when the new quota is projected to be met.

Commercial harvest of gray triggerfish was closed on May 8, 2015, because it was determined that the previous annual catch limit of 272,880 pounds whole weight would be met by that date. Because this final rule is being implemented halfway through the 2015 fishing year and commercial landings of gray triggerfish have accumulated, the quota for the July 1 through December 31, 2015, fishing season will be the difference between the new total commercial annual catch limit of 312,324 pounds whole weight and the amount of commercial landings that have occurred by July 1, 2015.

More Information

For more information on Amendment 29, please click on this link to the Frequently Asked Questions found at:

This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.


Release: Immediate
Date: June 1, 2015
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

State seeks applicants for saltwater fishing license grants projects

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is accepting applications for proposals for the 2016-2017 funding cycle from the N.C. Marine Resources Fund.

The fund, which receives proceeds from the sale of Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses, provides grants for projects that help manage, protect, restore, develop, cultivate and enhance the state’s marine resources.

Only universities and local and state governmental entities in North Carolina are eligible to apply. Others must partner with one of these eligible entities.

Proposals will be evaluated based on the Coastal Recreational Fishing License Strategic Plan for the Conservation and Improvement of North Carolina’s Marine Resources. The plan considers priority research needs identified in fishery management plans approved by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission, issues identified in the N.C. Coastal Habitat Protection Plan and research needs identified with other agencies. The strategic plan can be found on the Division of Marine Fisheries website at:

Projects submitted for this funding cycle should fall under one of three programmatic areas:

Fish – Projects that estimate recreational fishing effort, harvest and mortality of important coastal recreational fish species, the socio-economic attributes of coastal recreational fisheries or the characterization of catch and release mortality;

Habitat – Projects that improve the effectiveness of existing environmental programs or that identify, designate or protect coastal recreational fish habitat;

People – Projects that provide increased access to recreational fisheries resources and enhancement structures or provide better public education and enrichment products.

All proposals must be submitted to the director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries by 5 p.m. July 31. Directions for submitting a proposal and an application form can be downloaded from the Division of Marine Fisheries’ website at Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

For more information, contact Coastal Recreational Fishing License Project Coordinator Wayne Johannessen at 252-808-8004 or 800-682-2632 or


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