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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - Aug. 2012

Marine Fisheries

News Release Archives — August 2012


Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021
Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 31, 2012

Marine Fisheries Begins Red Snapper Carcass Collection Program

MOREHEAD CITY — Recreational anglers who catch red snapper during the upcoming mini-season can help manage this fishery and get a reward by donating their filleted carcasses to biologists.

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has set up freezers at eight locations along the coast where fishermen can take their carcasses. In return, the angler will receive a limited edition fishing towel and a citation (certificate) from the N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament.

The freezers are located at:

Hurricane Fleet
9975 Nance St.
Calabash

Ocean Isle Fishing Center
65 Causeway Beach
Ocean Isle Beach

Carolina Beach Fishing Center
313 Canal Drive
Carolina Beach

Tex’s Tackle
215 Old Eastwood Road
Wilmington

Dudley’s Marina
106 Cedar Point Blvd.
Swansboro

Capt. Stacy Fishing Center
415 Atlantic Beach Causeway
Atlantic Beach

Carolina Princess Fishing Center
604 Evans St.
Morehead City

Oden’s Dock
57878 N.C. 12
Hatteras

 

For a map of these locations, go to http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/snapper/freezer-locations.

Fishermen should leave the head and tail intact on the fish carcass. Instructions on how to deposit the carcasses are posted on each freezer. Anglers will be asked to give information related to how and when the fish was caught. Fishermen also will be asked for their names and addresses in order to receive their reward and citation.

Division biologists will measure the fish, determine the sex, if possible, and remove the otoliths (ear bones) to determine the fish’s age. The information collected will be provided to the National Marine Fisheries Service for possible use in an upcoming red snapper stock assessment.

The division plans to use this mini-season as a pilot project to determine if it is practical to expand it to include other species on a coast-wide basis in North Carolina.

The federal government prohibited the commercial and recreational harvest of red snapper in January 2010 amid concerns the stocks were depleted. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has now determined the stocks have improved enough to allow a limited number of fish to be harvested.

The recreational red snapper season will open Sept. 14 for a three-day weekend and a second three-day weekend beginning Sept. 21. There will be a one-fish bag limit and no size limit.

The commercial mini-season will open on different dates.

For specific information on commercial and recreational harvest limits, go to http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamation-ff-39-2012. To read the National Marine Fisheries Service bulletin on the subject, go to  http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/bulletins/pdfs/2012/FB12-061_SA_Red_Snapper%20_Temp_Rule.pdf.

For more information on this red snapper carcass collection program, go to http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/snapper/red-snapper-collection or contact Carole Willis, division sportfishing specialist, at 252-808-8081 or carole.y.willis@ncdenr.gov.

nr-35-2012


Contact: Kim Iverson
Phone: 843-571-4366
Email: kim.iverson@safmc.net
Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 30, 2012

NOAA Fisheries Announces Closure Dates for the Commercial Harvest of the Deepwater Complex, the Porgy Complex, Gray Triggerfish, and Yellowtail Snapper in the South Atlantic

The commercial harvest of the deepwater complex and the porgy complex will close, effective 12:01 a.m. (local time) September 8, 2012, through 12:01 a.m. January 1, 2013. The commercial harvest of gray triggerfish and yellowtail snapper will close, effective 12:01 a.m. (local time) September 11, 2012, through 12:01 a.m. January 1, 2013. Updated landings data indicate that commercial harvest of these species and species complexes will likely meet the respective annual catch limits established by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council-approved Snapper-Grouper Fishery Management Plan by these dates. As a result, commercial harvest will be closed in federal waters of the South Atlantic.

See the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fishery Bulletinfor details, including a list of species within the deepwater complex and porgy complex, and additional contact information.

To view Fishery Bulletins, visit the NOAA Fisheries' Southeast Regional Office website at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov. Relevant copies are also posted on the Council's website at www.safmc.net. Pardon cross-postings.

083012-noaa


Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021
Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 30, 2012

Fishermen Need Permits for Pamlico Sound Fall Flounder Gill Net Fishery

MOREHEAD CITY — Commercial fishermen who wish to participate in the fall flounder gill net fishery in Pamlico Sound need to apply for a permit with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.

Applications are available through the division’s license offices and will be mailed to previous permit holders.

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission decided at its meeting in August to delay the opening of the Pamlico Sound Gill Net Restricted Area to large mesh gill nets until mid-September to maximize flounder catches and minimize the chance of interactions with sea turtles. Fishermen typically use large mesh gill nets to target flounder.

By federal rule, all of Pamlico Sound closes to large mesh gill net fishing from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30 each year. The closure began in 1999 after several instances of fishery interactions with threatened and endangered sea turtles.

Since 2000, the National Marine Fisheries Service has allowed a highly-monitored, large mesh gill net fishery during the closure in limited areas of the sound under a series of incidental take permits. These permits, authorized under Section 10 of the federal Endangered Species Act, allow for limited takes of threatened or endangered species in an otherwise lawful activity.

North Carolina’s latest incidental take permit for the Pamlico Sound Gill Net Restricted Area expired Dec. 31, 2010. However, the National Marine Fisheries Service agreed last year and again this year to allow the large mesh gill net fishery in the Pamlico Sound Gill Net Restricted Area under the same regulations and permit requirements as previous years.

In May 2010, the division submitted an application for a statewide incidental take permit to cover set gill nets statewide, including the Pamlico Sound Gill Net Restricted Area. The application is still under review.

For more information, contact Jacob Boyd, division protected species biologist, at 252-808-8107 or Jacob.Boyd@ncdenr.gov.

nr-34-2012


Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021
Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 30, 2012

Public Comments Sought on Reorganization of Fisheries Agencies

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is reminding the public of two coastal meetings next week where they can speak on how the state can provide more efficient, productive and enjoyable uses of fisheries resources.

Representatives from the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will take comments on Section 2 of Senate Bill 821, which was signed into law this summer.

This section of the law directs these agencies to study the current organization of the state’s fisheries management agencies and whether these agencies should be reorganized to provide for more efficient, productive and enjoyable uses of the state’s fisheries resources.

Currently, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries manages coastal fish species while the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission manages inland fish species.

The meetings are set for:

  6 p.m. Sept. 5
Craven County Cooperative Extension Office
300 Industrial Drive, New Bern
6 p.m. Sept 6
Dare County Administration Building
Commissioners Meeting Room
954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo

These meetings will focus solely on the topic of reorganization of the state’s fisheries agencies.

Also, the public may comment in writing online at http://www.ncsenatebill821.org/default.htm, or by mailing comments to S821 Comments, 1701 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1701. The deadline for the receipt of written comments is Sept. 7.

All comments offered on this issue will be presented for joint consideration by all three agencies.

nr-33-2012


Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021
Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 28, 2012

Marine Fisheries Commission Looks at
Issues Surrounding Shrimp, Flounder

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission took action at its August meeting on two of North Carolina’s most popular seafoods: shrimp and flounder.

The commission voted at its meeting last week to seek public comment on a draft revision to the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. It also voted on several management measures impacting the flounder gill net fishery.

The draft revision to the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan recommends continuing research on the shrimp trawl fishery. However, it does not recommend changes in management of this fishery at this time.

Public comment on this draft revision will be taken in conjunction with several advisory committee meetings. Dates, times and locations for these meetings will be announced later. After receiving public comment and a review by the advisory committees, the commission will decide at its November meeting whether to proceed with the revision or switch to an amendment process. The amendment process includes convening an advisory committee and exploring changes in management strategies.

The commission also voted on several issues pertaining to the flounder gill net fishery, including a large mesh gill net yardage reduction in the Albemarle Sound and other areas that had been exempt from stricter yardage limits under a sea turtle lawsuit settlement agreement.

The commission voted to reduce the maximum large mesh gill net yardage allowed in these waters from 3,000 yards per fishing operation to 2,000 yards per fishing operation and to request that fishermen fish their nets as early as possible in the morning, but no later than noon every 24 hours. The motion passed with no objection (commissioner Chris Elkins abstained from the vote).

The action was taken as a proactive measure to reduce Atlantic sturgeon interactions in the estuarine gill net fishery. Atlantic sturgeon was listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act on April 6. While sea turtles are not usually caught in gill nets in these areas, there is evidence that Atlantic sturgeon are.

The commission also voted to reopen southern Core Sound, Back Sound, The Straits and North River to the use of large mesh gill nets Oct. 15-May 15. These waters closed to large mesh gill nets May 13 for the protection of sea turtles. The opening is with the understanding that all North Carolina waters will close to the harvest of southern flounder during December, as they have for the past several years.

Additionally, the commission agreed to delay the opening of the Pamlico Sound Gill Net Restricted Area to mid September. These waters are under a federal closure beginning Sept. 1, but can reopen under an incidental take permit that allows for a limited number of interactions with sea turtles.

In other business, the commission voted to:

  • Provide comment for a study on whether to reorganize the state’s fisheries management agencies, recommending that the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries remain an autonomous agency under a natural resources department.
  • Send a draft amendment to the Oyster Fishery Management Plan for review by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations. The proposed amendment creates seed oyster management areas at Possum Bay and Swan Point in the mouth of the New River.
  • Send a draft amendment to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan out for public comment and review by the regional and Finfish advisory committees. The draft amendment updates the document so that it is in line with current regulations under a sea turtle lawsuit settlement agreement.
  • Re-elect Anna Beckwith as vice-chair of the commission.
  • Move forward with the administrative process for two rules. One of the rules will require mandatory electronic trip ticket reporting for large-scale finfish dealers. The other rule will change the way Marine Patrol officers measure the harvest limit for recreationally-caught shrimp from the number of shrimp to a volumetric measure.
  • Mirror the regulations implemented last year for the commercial ocean striped bass fishery this coming season.
  • Direct the Division of Marine Fisheries to explore getting more flexibility in state laws for developing limited entry fisheries subject to federal fishery management plans and quotas.
  • Approve a five-year schedule for development of fishery management plans.
  • Approve an annual report on the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan.

Finally, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall presided over a swearing-in ceremony for newly appointed commissioner Kelly Darden and reappointed commissioners Mikey Daniels and Anna Beckwith. Photos of this ceremony can be found at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/082212-mfc-photos.

For more information, contact Nancy Fish in the Marine Fisheries Commission Office, at 252-808-8021 or Nancy.Fish@ncdenr.gov.

nr-32-2012


Contact: Rick DeVictor
Phone: 727-824-5305
Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 27, 2012

September Opening of Commercial and Recreational
Red Snapper Season in the South Atlantic Federal Waters

NOAA Fisheries announces the opening of the 2012 commercial and recreational red snapper fishing season in South Atlantic federal waters. Based on a recommendation by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (South Atlantic Council), the commercial red snapper season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on Sept. 17, 2012, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on Sept. 24, 2012. During the open commercial season, the daily trip limit is 50 pounds gutted weight and there is no minimum size limit for red snapper.

The recreational fishing season will open for two consecutive weekends made up of Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The recreational red snapper season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, onSept. 14, 2012, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on Sept. 17, 2012; the season then reopens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on Sept. 21, 2012, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on Sept. 24, 2012. During the open recreational season, the bag limit is one fish per person per day and there is no minimum size limit for red snapper.

The intent of this action is to provide fishermen the opportunity to harvest the red snapper 2012 annual catch limit and enhance the social and economic benefits to the fishery. The commercial and recreational annual catch limits for 2012 are 20,818 pounds gutted weight and 9,399 fish, respectively. The sector annual catch limits are based upon allocations previously decided by the South Atlantic Council.

NOAA Fisheries may change the commercial and recreational season dates if severe weather conditions exist. If severe weather conditions exist, NOAA Fisheries will announce via NOAA Weather Radio and a Fishery Bulletin any change in the red snapper fishing seasons. Additionally, NOAA Fisheries will monitor the commercial landings and may re-open the commercial fishing season in 2012 if landings are less than the annual catch limits.

After the conclusion of the commercial Sept. 17-24, 2012, red snapper fishing season, red snapper may not be harvested or possessed in federal waters of the South Atlantic. After the conclusion of the recreational Sept. 14-17, 2012, and Sept. 21-24, 2012 fishing seasons, red snapper may not be harvested or possessed in federal waters of the South Atlantic.

Harvest and possession prohibitions also apply to state waters for vessels holding federal snapper-grouper permits.

This bulletin provides only a summary of the information regarding this rulemaking. Any discrepancies between this bulletin and the regulations published in the Federal Register will be resolved in favor of the Federal Register.

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

More information, including Frequently Asked Questions for the 2012 red snapper fishing seasons can be found online at:
http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/SASnapperGrouperHomepage.htm 
To receive fishery bulletins via email using Constant Contact, please sign up at http://bit.ly/HQDUEU. You may also sign up for Constant Contact by visiting our website http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/ (sign-up option is located on the left side of the page).

FB12-061


Contact: Kim Iverson
Phone: 843-571-4366
Email: kim.iverson@safmc.net
Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 27, 2012

NOAA Fisheries Requests Public Comment on Action to Allow Transfer of
Black Sea Bass Pot Endorsements

(Comment period ends October 22, 2012)

NOAA Fisheries requests public comments on a resubmitted action from Amendment 18A to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 18A). Amendment 18A was implemented on July 1, 2012, and established a black sea bass pot endorsement program. Amendment 18A also contained an action to allow black sea bass pot endorsements to be transferred to individuals or entities that hold or simultaneously obtain a South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit. However, Amendment 18A had the wrong preferred alternative designated and there were discrepancies in the record regarding the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's discussion of the alternatives. Therefore, NOAA Fisheries did not implement the transferability action in Amendment 18A and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council addressed the action in a separate amendment.

To view the complete Fishery Bulletins, visit the NOAA Fisheries' Southeast Regional Office website athttp://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov.
Relevant copies are also posted on the Council's website atwww.safmc.net. Pardon cross-postings.


Contact: Kim Iverson
Phone: 843-571-4366
Email: kim.iverson@safmc.net
Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 27, 2012

NOAA Fisheries Service Announces Closure Date for the Harvest of
South Atlantic Recreational Black Sea Bass

NOAA Fisheries Service has determined that the 2012-2013 recreational annual catch limit of 409,000 pounds for black sea bass has been reached. As a result, the recreational sector for black sea bass in federal waters of the South Atlantic from the latitude of Cape Hatteras Light, North Carolina to Key West, Florida, will close effective 12:01 a.m. (local time) September 4, 2012, through 12:01 a.m. June 1, 2013.

For vessels with a valid federal charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper grouper, the closure applies to state and federal waters. The operator of a vessel that has a federal for-hire permit for snapper grouper must land any black sea bass harvested from either state or federal waters prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, September 4, 2012.

Black sea bass are experiencing overfishing (rate of removal is too high). For the 2012-2013 fishing year the commercial annual catch limit is 409,000 pounds. Harvest levels must be kept below these levels to prevent fish from being removed too quickly, and to rebuild the black sea bass population.


Contact: Kate Michie
Phone: 727-824-5305
Email: Kate.Michie@noaa.gov
Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 22, 2012

NOAA Fisheries Requests Public Comments on an Action
to Allow Transfer of Black Sea Bass Pot Endorsements

(Comment Period Ends October 22, 2012)


NOAA Fisheries requests public comments on a resubmitted action from Amendment 18A to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 18A). The notice of availability published in the Federal Register on August 22, 2012 (77 FR 50672).
 
Amendment 18A was implemented on July 1, 2012, and established a black sea bass pot endorsement program.  Amendment 18A also contained an action to allow black sea bass pot endorsements to be transferred to individuals or entities that hold or simultaneously obtain a South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit. However, Amendment 18A had the wrong preferred alternative designated and there were discrepancies in the record regarding the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's discussion of the alternatives. Therefore, NOAA Fisheries did not implement the transferability action in Amendment 18A and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council addressed the action in a separate amendment.
 
The Resubmitted Amendment 18A Action Amendment would allow black sea bass endorsements to be transferred under the following conditions:

  • Valid or renewable black sea bass pot endorsements would be transferable upon the effective date of the final rule implementing this action.
  • Valid and renewable endorsements could only be transferred to any individual or entity holding or simultaneously obtaining a valid South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit.
  • Valid and renewable endorsements would be transferable, independently from the South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper Grouper Permit.
  • All landings of black sea bass using the black sea bass pot endorsement would be associated with the South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit with which the endorsement is associated regardless of when landings occurred.
  • Landings of black sea bass using the black sea bass pot endorsement would not be transferred with the endorsement.
  • Endorsements would not be automatically renewed when the associated South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit is renewed. (Endorsement holders would need to check a box on the application to renew their black sea bass pot endorsement.)

Request for Comments
Comments on the Resubmitted Amendment 18A Action Amendment must be received no later than October 22, 2012, to be considered by NOAA Fisheries. See the Addresses section for information on where and how to submit comments.
 
Addresses
Electronic or hardcopies of the Resubmitted Amendment 18A Action Amendment may be obtained from:
The NOAA Fisheries Web site http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/SASnapperGrouperHomepage.htm.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Web site at http://www.safmc.net.
 
To request a CD of the Resubmitted Amendment 18A Action Amendment contact:
NOAA Fisheries
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: 727-824-5305
 
You may submit comments by the following methods:

Electronic Submission: The Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (select "Submit Comment", then type in NOAA-NMFS-2012-0128 in the "Keyword or ID" box). All comments received are part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change.

Mail:
NOAA Fisheries
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
c/o Kate Michie
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
 
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
For more information on the Resubmitted Amendment 18A Action Amendment please click on this link to the Resubmitted Amendment 18A Action Amendment Frequently Asked Questions found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/SASnapperGrouperHomepage.htmor view the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Web page at: www.safmc.net.

FB12-059


Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021
Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 17, 2012

Marine Fisheries Commission Seeks Bay Scallop Advisers

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission is looking for commercial and recreational fisherman and scientists to serve on the Bay Scallop Fishery Management Plan Advisory Committee.

The committee will assist the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries in updating the Bay Scallop Fishery Management Plan.  The commission uses fishery management plans as guides for implementing regulations and other management measures.
 
To qualify to serve on a committee, an individual may not have had a significant fisheries violation within the past three years.    

Individuals interested in serving as an adviser should be willing to attend meetings at least once a month and actively participate in the committee process, which includes reviewing scientific documents and issue papers to make recommendations on management strategies.  Advisers will be reimbursed for travel and other expenses incurred in relation to their official duties.

Applications are available online at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/adviser-applications or at Division of Marine Fisheries’ offices or by calling 252-808-8022 or 800-682-2632. Applications should be returned by Sept. 12 to the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557, Attention: Lauren Morris.

nr-31-2012

 

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