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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - NC Bycatch Reduction Device

Marine Fisheries

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K. Square Mesh Panel (SMP) Composite Panel:

1. Description. The SMP is a panel of square mesh webbing placed in the top of the cod end to provide finfish escape openings. Minimum construction and installation requirements stated below.

2. Webbing extension. The webbing extension must be constructed from a single rectangular piece of 1 1/2 inch to 1 3/4 inch (3.8 cm to 4.5 cm) stretch mesh with dimensions of 24 1/2 meshes by 150 to 160 meshes. A tube is formed from the extension webbing piece by sewing the 24 1/2 mesh sides together. The leading edge of the webbing extension must be attached no more than 4 meshes from the posterior edge of the TED grid.

3. Funnel. The V-shaped funnel consists of two webbing panels attached to the extension along the leading edge of the panels. The top and bottom edges of the panels are sewn diagonally across the extension toward the center to form the funnel. The panels are 2-ply in design, each with an inner layer of 1 1/2 inch to 1 5/8 inch (3.8 cm to 4.1 cm) heat-set and depth-stretched polyethylene webbing and an outer layer constructed of no larger than 2 inch (5.1 cm) square mesh webbing (1 inch bar). The inner webbing layer must be rectangular in shape, 36 meshes on the leading edge by 20 meshes deep. The 36 mesh leading edges of the polyethylene webbing should be sewn evenly to 24 meshes of the extension webbing 1 1/2 meshes from and parallel to the leading edge of the extension starting 12 meshes up from the bottom center on each side. Alternately sew 2 meshes of the polyethylene webbing to 1 mesh of the extension webbing then 1 mesh of the polyethylene webbing to 1 mesh of the extension webbing toward the top. The bottom 20 mesh edges of the polyethylene layers are sewn evenly to the extension webbing on a 2 bar 1 mesh angle toward the bottom back center forming a V-shape in the bottom of the extension webbing. The top 20 mesh edges of the polyethylene layers are sewn evenly along the bars of the extension webbing toward the top back center. The square mesh layers must be rectangular in shape and constructed of no larger than 2 inch (5.1 cm) webbing that is 18 inches (45.7 cm) in length on the leading edge. The depth of the square mesh layer must be no more than 2 inches (5.1 cm) less than the 20 mesh side of the inner polyethylene layer when stretched taught. The 18 inch (45.7 cm) leading edge of each square mesh layer must be sewn evenly to the 36 mesh leading edge of the polyethylene section and the sides are sewn evenly (in length) to the 20 mesh edges of the polyethylene webbing. This will form a V-shape funnel using the top of the extension webbing as the top of the funnel and the bottom of the extension webbing as the bottom of the funnel.

4. Cutting the escape opening. There are two escape openings on each side of the funnel. The leading edge of the escape openings must be located on the same row of meshes in the extension webbing as the leading edge of the composite panels. The lower openings are formed by starting at the first attachment point of the composite panels and cutting 9 meshes in the extension webbing on an even row of meshes toward the top of the extension. Next, turn 90 degrees and cut 15 points on an even row toward the back of the extension webbing. At this point turn and cut 18 bars toward the bottom front of the extension webbing. Finish the escape opening by cutting 6 points toward the original starting point. The top escape openings start 5 meshes above and mirror the lower openings. Starting at the leading edge of the composite panel and 5 meshes above the lower escape opening, cut 9 meshes in the extension on an even row of meshes toward the top of the extension. Next, turn 90 degrees, and cut 6 points on an even row toward the back of the extension webbing. Then cut 18 bars toward the bottom back of the extension. To complete the escape opening, cut 15 points forward toward the original starting point. The area of each escape opening must total at least 212 in2 (1,368 cm2). The four escape openings must be double-selvaged for strength. The four escape openings shall remain unobstructed at all times.

5. SMP. The SMP is constructed from a single piece of square mesh webbing with a minimum dimension of 5 squares wide and 12 squares in length with a minimum mesh size of 3 inch (76 mm) stretched mesh. The maximum twine diameter of the square mesh is # 96 twine (4 mm).

6. Cutting the SMP escape opening. The escape opening is a rectangular hole cut in the top center of the cod end webbing. The posterior edge of the escape opening must be placed no farther forward that 8 ft (2.4 m) from the cod end drawstring (tie-off rings). The width of the escape opening, as measured across the cod end, must be four cod end meshes per square of the SMP (i.e., a cut of 20 cod end meshes for a SMP that is 5 meshes wide). The stretched mesh length of the escape opening must be equal to the total length of the SMP. No portion of the SMP escape opening may be covered with additional material or netting such as chaffing webbing, which might impede or prevent fish escapement.

7. Installation of the SMP. The SMP must be attached to the edge of the escape opening evenly around the perimeter of the escape opening cut with heavy twine.

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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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