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Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives Aug 2014

Marine Fisheries

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News Release Archives - August 2014


Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 28, 2014
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021 or 252-342-0642

Marine Fisheries Commission Agrees With Commercial
Red Drum Season Measures

MOREHEAD CITY – The commercial red drum season will reopen Monday in North Carolina coastal waters, with stricter harvest limits than last year.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Director Louis Daniel told the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission last week he plans to reopen the season, which runs Sept. 1 to Aug. 31 each year, with a seven-fish per day bycatch allowance, so long as the weight of flounder, striped mullet, bluefish or black drum on board exceeds the weight of the red drum.

The Marine Fisheries Commission voted to support Daniel’s plans.

In North Carolina, commercial fishermen are not allowed to target red drum, but when the season is open, they are allowed to retain a certain number of red drum caught incidentally when targeting other species. For the past several years, that allowance has been 10 fish and any finfish species except menhaden could serve as the target species.

This past year, the commercial red drum season closed Nov. 23 after the annual red drum commercial harvest limit was exceeded in the first months of the annual season.

As a result, most internal coastal waters have been closed to anchored large-mesh gill nets since May to avoid incidental catches of red drum. These waters will remain closed until at least Sept. 15 to allow sea turtles to move out of the area.

Additionally, in July, the state limited anchored gill net use in Albemarle and Currituck sounds and tributaries to overnight soaks to aid the state in complying with observer coverage required by a Sea Turtle Incidental Take Permit. The overnight soak requirement will be lifted Monday, as well, when a requirement for a new Estuarine Gill Net Permit takes effect.

For more information on the red drum and gill net regulations, see proclamations FF-55-2014 and M-25-2014 at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.

In other business, the Marine Fisheries Commission

  • Approved text and fiscal impact analysis for a slate of proposed rules to go to public hearing. The proposed rules include regulations to implement amendments to the Shrimp, River Herring and Bay Scallop fishery management plans and Addendum III to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Eel. Additional changes are proposed for ocean pier licensing and for-hire licensing and logbooks.
  • Voted to send a draft amendment to the Striped Mullet Fishery Management Plan out for public comment that proposes an increase in the target population biomass in recognition of their importance as prey species to many important finfish species.
  • Voted to send draft Strategic Habitat Area Nominations for Region 3 out for public comment.

Prior to the meeting, newly appointed commissioners Sammy Corbett (commercial industry seat) and Mike Wicker (scientist seat) and reappointed commissioner Joe Shute (recreational industry seat) were sworn in. A photo of these commissioners taking the oath of office can be downloaded at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/mfc-swearing-in.


Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 28, 2014
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Sgt. Carter Witten Named Marine Patrol Officer of the Year

MOREHEAD CITY — Sgt. Carter Witten has been chosen to receive the 2014 Marine Fisheries Enforcement Officer of the Year award from the Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards Program.

He will receive his award Sept. 6 at the North Carolina Wildlife Federation’s 51st Annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards Reception and Banquet in Cary.

Witten, 38, was nominated for the honor by his district captain, Steve Anthony, who said Witten has a straight-shooting style that has earned him the respect of his fellow officers.

“He has always been one of those special individuals that separates himself from others by taking charge of whatever it was he is tasked with,” Anthony said. “Whether it is on work details in the middle of grading crabs while being drenched in cold rain, or pulling nets in the middle of summer heat, he not only does what is needed, but accomplishes it with a pride that is rare to find.”

He is also know as a “go-to guy” when it comes to those extra tasks that fall outside of normal Marine Patrol duties.

Over the past couple of years, Witten has taken on the tasks of removing outboard motors off boats and installing new ones; scheduling for new VIPER radio installations in vehicles and vessels; scheduling the removal of three radio towers; and organizing several work details around the state.

“Sgt. Witten continually provides quality leadership and mentorship, consistently goes above and beyond his normal duties, and maintains an outstanding work ethic and attitude,” said Marine Patrol Col. Jim Kelley. “He can always be depended upon to take on any task and excel.”

Witten, a native of Havelock, began his career with Marine Patrol in July 2001 as a patrol officer in Hyde County. He transferred to Carteret County in early 2002, where he patrolled the Newport River, and later to Craven County, where he patrolled the Havelock and New Bern areas.

He was promoted to sergeant over Hyde and Dare counties in September 2008. He transferred in May 2011 to Craven, Pamlico and Beaufort counties.

Prior to joining the Marine Patrol, Witten worked with the Havelock Police Department from October 1998 to July 2001.

He graduated from Havelock High School in 1994 and received his Basic Law Enforcement Training Certificate from Carteret Community College in 1997.

He lives in Havelock with his wife Joy and 11-year-old son Taylor.

Contact Witten for comment at 252-808-8135 or Carter.Witten@ncdenr.gov. Download a high resolution photo of Witten at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/08-2014-carter-witten.


Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 26, 2014
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Recreational Black Sea Bass Season Extended North of Cape Hatteras

MOREHEAD CITY — The recreational black sea bass fishing season has been extended by three days in both federal and North Carolina waters north of Cape Hatteras.

The summer season, originally scheduled to close Sept. 18, will close Sept. 21. The season will reopen again from Oct. 18 through Dec. 31.

The minimum size limit is 12.5 inches, and the bag limit will be 15 fish per person, per day.

The recreational black sea bass regulations north of Cape Hatteras comply with the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Plan.

The recreational black sea bass fishery south of Cape Hatteras is managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. South of Cape Hatteras, the minimum size limit is 13 inches and the bag limit is five fish per person per day. The recreational black sea bass season South of Cape Hatteras begins June 1 each year and closes when the quota is met. The 2014-15 season is open.

For more specific regulations on black sea bass, see Proclamation FF-54-2014 for North of Cape Hatteras or Proclamation FF-49-2014 for South of Cape Hatteras at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.

For more information, contact Chris Batsavage at 252-808-8009 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov.

nr-41-2014


Release: Immediate
Date: Aug. 26, 2014
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Division of Marine Fisheries Seeks Comments on Oyster
and Hard Clam Fisheries Issues

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is asking the public to submit comments on issues they would like to see addressed in upcoming amendments to the Oyster and Hard Clam Fishery Management Plans.

State law requires the division to prepare a fishery management plan for adoption by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission for all commercially and recreationally significant species or fisheries that comprise state coastal waters. These plans provide management strategies designed to ensure long-term viability of the fishery. State law also requires the division to review each fishery management plan every five years.

The division is beginning a mandated five-year review of the N.C. Oyster and Hard Clam Fishery Management Plans that were adopted by the commission in 2008. Since changes in the management strategies and rules are proposed, the division is pursuing plan amendments, where division staff and an advisory committee develop positions on specific issues that need to be addressed. An Oyster and Hard Clam Advisory Committee has been appointed to give input on the issues.

Written comments will be accepted until Sept. 30 and should be addressed to Tina Moore, N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557 or Stephen Taylor, N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, 127 Cardinal Drive Extension, Wilmington, NC 28405. People can also comment by sending an email to: Tina.Moore@ncdenr.gov or Stephen.Taylor@ncdenr.gov .

nr-40-2014

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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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