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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 06 2016 NR Archives

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: June 2, 2016
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Public comments sought on new oyster sanctuary/fishing reef
in Hyde County

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is seeking public input on a proposed oyster sanctuary near Wysocking Bay. Comments will be accepted at a meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. June 14 in the Hyde County Government Building, 30 Oyster Creek Road, Swan Quarter.

Staff with the state’s Oyster Sanctuary Program will discuss a plan to construct Gull Shoal Oyster Sanctuary, a 10-acre sanctuary located about 4 miles (3.5 nautical miles) southeast of Wysocking Bay. Those in attendance will be asked for input on the plan.

Oyster sanctuaries are areas where oyster reefs are created with the aim of providing a brood stock to help restore oyster populations. The reefs attract native oyster larvae, which settle and grow to produce millions of eggs annually that are carried by currents and tides to surrounding areas. The reefs also serve as habitat for finfish populations and provide hook-and-line fishing opportunities. To protect the brood stock, no shellfish harvest or bottom-disturbing gear is allowed within oyster sanctuaries.

Once constructed, the Gull Shoal Oyster Sanctuary will be part of the Sen. Jean Preston Oyster Sanctuary Network, a system of small, interconnected oyster sanctuaries within the Pamlico Sound and its tributaries.

For more information, contact Curt Weychert with the Oyster Sanctuary Program at 252-808-8055 or


Release: Immediate
Date: June 1, 2016
Contact: Mary Janine Vara / NOAA Fisheries
Phone: 727-209-5967


NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed Management Changes to Black Sea Bass, Blueline Tilefish, and Yellowtail Snapper
in the South Atlantic

Comment Period Ends June 16, 2016

NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on Regulatory Amendment 25 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Regulatory Amendment 25). The proposed rule for Regulatory Amendment 25 published in the Federal Register on June 1, 2016 (81 FR 34944). The comment period ends on June 16, 2016.

Regulatory Amendment 25 proposes the following changes:

Black sea bass

  • Increase the recreational bag limit for black sea bass from five to seven fish per person per day. The higher bag limit would increase the probability that the recreational annual catch limit is reached.

Blueline Tilefish

  • Increase the annual catch limits for blueline tilefish to 87,521 pounds (commercial sector) and 87,277 pounds (recreational sector).
  • Increase the commercial trip limit from 100 to 300 pounds gutted weight.
  • Increase the recreational bag limit from one per vessel to three fish per person per day for the months of May through August. There would continue to be no recreational retention of blueline tilefish during the months of January through April and September through December, each year.

Yellowtail Snapper

  • Change the yellowtail snapper fishing year start date for both the commercial and recreational sectors from January 1 to August 1, each year. Changing the start of the fishing year to August 1 would benefit both sectors because it would ensure that harvest is open during the winter months when yellowtail snapper obtain a higher price per pound commercially, and during peak tourist season in south Florida where the majority of yellowtail harvest takes place.

Request for Comments
Comments on the amendment must be received no later than June 16, 2016, to be considered by NOAA Fisheries. See the Addresses section for information on where and how to submit comments.

Electronic copies of Amendment 25 may be obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Web site, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at, the Council's Web site at

You may submit comments by the following methods:

Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0042 click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

NOAA Fisheries Service
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
c/o Mary Vara
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

All personal identifying information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Comments received through means not specified in this bulletin may not be considered.

More information, including Frequently Asked Questions for Regulatory Amendment 25 can be found online 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, 2016
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

State Seeks Applicants for Coastal Recreational
Fishing License Fund Projects

MOREHEAD CITY — The state’s marine fisheries agency is accepting applications for proposals for the 2017-2018 funding cycle from the North Carolina 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 state and local 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 Marine Fisheries Commission, issues identified in the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan and research needs identified cooperatively with other agencies. The strategic plan, as well as directions for submitting a proposal and an application form, 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 received by the director of the Division of Marine Fisheries by 5 p.m. July 29. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

A pre-proposal meeting will be held at 10 a.m. June 15 at the Carteret Community College Bryant Student Center, 3505 Arendell St., Morehead City, to give potential grant applicants an overview of the grant application process and answer questions. The meeting is open to the public and potential applicants are encouraged to attend, but attendance is not required.

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



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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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