The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) is responsible for the stewardship of the state's marine and estuarine resources. The division's jurisdiction encompasses all coastal waters and extends to 3 miles offshore. Agency policies are established by the 9-member Marine Fisheries Commission and the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality. North Carolina is a member of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
The Division of Marine Fisheries is comprised of nine sections that collectively carry out this mandate. The Division of Marine Fisheries can trace its roots back as early as 1822, when the North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation to impose gear restrictions on oyster harvest. That was later followed by separate fish and shellfish commissions, which were combined in 1915 to form a commercial regulatory body. In 1965, the scope of the commission was expanded to include regulatory authority over recreational fishing activities in coastal waters.
Behind North Carolina's fragile strand of barrier islands lie shallow waters where the land and sea gradually merge forming estuaries, brackish swamps and mud flats that serve as nursery areas for shrimp, crabs, finfish and shellfish. Traditionally ranked in the top-10 seafood producing states, North Carolina has over 4,000 miles of shoreline and 2.5 million acres of marine and estuarine waters. Latest estimates show that 4,000 full-time commercial fishermen and 2 million recreational anglers enjoy the bounty of the state's marine resources.
Mission – The Division of Marine Fisheries is dedicated to ensuring sustainable marine and estuarine fisheries and habitats for the benefit and health of the people of North Carolina.
To meet this mission, the Division of Marine Fisheries is organized into nine sections that report to a Deputy Director, Dee Lupton, and a Director, Braxton Davis. The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Fisheries programs are administered for the benefit of all North Carolina residents without prejudice towards age, sex, race, religion or national origin. Violations of this pledge may be reported to the Equal Employment Officer, EEO/Foreign National Program, Administrative Services, 1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1601; or call 919-715-7094.
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