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Marine Fisheries - 09 2020 News Releases

Marine Fisheries

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News Release Archives: September 2020
8-point rule

 

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

MEDIA ADVISORY: Public hearing scheduled for
Pender County shellfish lease proposals

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a public hearing by webinar on proposed shellfish leases in Pender County at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Cape Fear Oyster Company, LLC, (William Scott Burrell, agent) has applied for a 1.06-acre bottom and water column lease in Seaside Areas near Butler Creek.

Coastal Roots Oyster Company, LLC, (David Roughton, agent) has applied for a 1.32-acre bottom and water column lease in Seaside Areas near Green Channel.

Bryan Pearson has applied for a 1.0-acre bottom and water column lease in Seaside Areas near Nixon’s Channel.

Topsail Sound Shellfish, LLC, (Ronald Sheffield, agent) has applied for a 0.88-acre bottom lease in Long Point Channel.

Jeffrey Coward and Bradford Robbins have applied for a 3.04-acre water column lease in Seaside Areas, near Topsail Sound.

The public may participate in the hearing online or by telephone. To facilitate comments, the division is asking those who wish to speak during the meeting to pre-register here by 4 p.m. Oct. 28.

Also, the public may comment on the proposed shellfish leases in writing. Written comments will be accepted until 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 and may be submitted in two ways:

  1. Online Comments – Public comments will be accepted through an online form available here.
  2. Mailed Comments – Written comments may be mailed to the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, Shellfish Leases, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557.

Links to all public hearing information, including webinar instructions, the call-in telephone number, presentation slides, and biological investigation can be found here.

For more information, contact Marla Chuffo, with the division’s Habitat and Enhancement Section, at 252-808-8048 or Marla.Chuffo@ncdenr.gov.

WHO: N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries
WHAT: Public hearing on proposed shellfish leases in Pender County
WHEN: Oct. 28 at 6 p.m.
WHERE: Meeting by Webinar
Click Here to Join
Click Here to Register to Speak
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Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: Sept. 15, 2020
Phone: 252-726-7021

Division of Marine Fisheries’ spending plan for CARES Act relief gets federal approval

MOREHEAD CITY —The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ spending plan for federal CARES Act fisheries assistance has been approved by NOAA Fisheries. The state now awaits notification from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that the $5.4 million has been awarded.

The spending plan details the state’s approach for disbursement of the funding through direct payments to eligible commercial fishermen, charter businesses, seafood dealers and processors, and qualified marine aquaculture operations.

Once the division receives notification of the award from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, it will initiate a process timeline that includes a 30-day application period that will likely open in late fall. The division will notify the public when application packets are mailed to eligible license, lease, and permit holders. Application packets will be available online or at division offices for eligible stakeholders who are not licensed by the division.

The CARES Act requires applicants for fisheries assistance to meet economic revenue losses greater than 35% as compared to the prior 5-year average revenue to be eligible for relief. Applicants will be required to complete the application, an affidavit, and provide supporting materials that document loss of revenue greater than 35% from March 1 to May 31, 2020 as compared to the average revenue from the same period of the previous five-years (March 1 to May 31, 2015-2019).

In addition, applicants must affirm that this assistance will not result in overcompensation for their financial losses in calendar year 2020. This means that the combination of fisheries assistance with any other CARES Act relief (such as the Paycheck Protection Program, Small Business Association loan, or unemployment payments) plus their fisheries income and/or other income in 2020 will not exceed their average annual revenue from the previous five years, or a minimum of one year for those in business less than five years. Only relief that does not need to be paid back should be factored into this equation.

The division was notified on May 7 that NOAA Fisheries had allocated $5.4 million in CARES Act fisheries assistance to North Carolina. Receipt of the funding, which passes through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, was contingent on federal approval of the spending plan, which was received on Sept. 9.

The approved spending plan and other related information is available on the division’s CARES Act Fishery Assistance Information Page. The application and other necessary documents will be added to this site when the application period opens.

For questions regarding the spending plan, email covid19relief@ncdenr.gov or call the division’s License and Statistics Office at 252-808-8105.

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Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: Sept. 10, 2020
Phone: 252-726-7021

Division of Marine Fisheries reminds gill net fishermen of observer requirements; staff will monitor fishery from state boats due to COVID-19

MOREHEAD CITY – The commercial flounder season opens soon, and the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is reminding gill net fishermen that one of the conditions for the Estuarine Gill Net Permit (EGNP) is to allow division staff to observe gill net operations.

In response to risks associated with COVID-19, observations will occur at a safe distance from fishermen using division-owned boats. Division staff will continue to contact fishermen to schedule observations and approach fishermen on the water to observe trips.

Refusing to allow an observer to observe a gill net trip will result in revocation of the fisherman’s EGNP.

The EGNP is a critical step in meeting the requirements of the division’s sea turtle and Atlantic sturgeon Incidental Take Permits issued by NOAA Fisheries under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act. It is required for anyone who sets an anchored gill net (large-mesh or small-mesh) in estuarine waters (commercially or recreationally).

Fishermen convicted of using anchored gill nets in internal coastal waters without holding an EGNP could be subject to a Class A1 misdemeanor.

The EGNP is available for free from the Division of Marine Fisheries. Fishermen can download an application here. Completed applications may be emailed to License@ncdenr.gov or mailed to the Division of Marine Fisheries, License Office, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City 28557.

Fishermen also may submit completed applications 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

The commercial southern flounder season opens Sept. 15 in the Northern Management Area, which includes Albemarle, Roanoke, and Croatan sounds and their tributaries and Oct. 1 in other estuarine waters of the state. for specific information on the commercial flounder season in the Northern Management Area, see Proclamation M-14-2020.

For more information about observer coverage, contact the Protected Resources Program supervisor Barbie Byrd at 252-808-8088 or Barbie.Byrd@ncdenr.gov.

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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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