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Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - Dec. 2012

Marine Fisheries

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

Public Comment Sought on Proposed Rules Pertaining to Striped Bass Fishery, Electronic Reporting

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission is accepting public comment on a slate of proposed rule changes that pertain to various issues, including the use of hook-and-line gear in the commercial striped bass fishery and electronic reporting requirements for fish dealers.

The commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed rule changes at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Washington Regional Office, 943 Washington Square Mall, Washington.

The commission is proposing to remove the prohibition on the sale and purchase of striped bass taken by hook-and-line gear. This will not automatically authorize the use of hook-and-line gear in the commercial striped bass fishery, but it will permit issuance of a proclamation to allow the use of this gear at some future date.

It is the intent that such a proclamation would follow discussions by the Marine Fisheries Commission and its advisory committees in association with review of fishery management plans.

The proposed rules also clarify that it will remain unlawful for a commercial fishing operation to possess striped bass taken from waters of the Roanoke River Management Area, which are under the jurisdiction of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

The commission is also proposing to require electronic reporting of landings from all fish dealers that report an annual average of greater than 50,000 pounds of finfish for the previous three calendar years. Electronically reported files are processed quicker than paper files, and the faster access to data will allow fisheries managers to make more timely decisions and more efficiently monitor fisheries landings for species managed under a quota.

Other proposed rule changes will:

  • Replace the harvest limit of 100 shrimp per person per day for shrimp taken with a cast net from a closed area with a volume harvest limit of two quarts of shrimp per person per day. The amounts are effectively equal, but measuring the volume will take less time than counting the shrimp, making the enforcement check safer for Marine Patrol and less burdensome for the fisherman.
  • Shift the existing joint/coastal boundary line between the Albemarle Sound Management Area and the Roanoke River Management Area for easier public identification and adherence to striped bass regulations.
  • Re-establish a coordinate point on land for Roanoke Marshes Point, which is the western point of the southern boundary for the Albemarle Sound Management Area. The land has eroded so that the current boundary point lies in the water. Re-establishing the point on land will make identifying it easier for fishermen and enforcement officers. The point is used to mark the boundaries for the Albemarle Sound/Chowan River Herring Management Areas, Attended Gill Net Areas and Striped Bass Management Areas.

The public may also comment in writing to Catherine Blum, Rulemaking Coordinator, N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O.  Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557 or send comments by email to Catherine.Blum@ncdenr.gov or fax to 252-726-0254. The public comment period will close at 5 p.m. Feb. 15.

The commission is scheduled to vote on the proposed rules at its Feb. 27-March 1 meeting. If approved, the rules could take effect as early as May 1.

For more information on the proposed rules, go to http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/mfc-proposed-rules-links or contact Blum at 252-808-8014 or Catherine.Blum@ncdenr.gov.

nr-49-2012


Contact: NOAA Sustainable Fisheries
Phone: 727-824-5305
Release: Immediate
Date: Dec. 11, 2012

Commercial Harvest of Atlantic Wahoo
Closing on December 19, 2012

The commercial harvest of Atlantic wahoo in the exclusive economic zone from Maine through the east coast of Florida will be closed, effective 12:01 a.m. (local time), December 19, 2012, through the remainder of the 2012 fishing year. NOAA Fisheries has determined the 2012 commercial annual catch limit of 64,147 pounds whole weight will be reached by that date.

The operator of a vessel that has been issued a federal commercial permit for dolphin-wahoo and has wahoo for sale must have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such wahoo prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, Dec. 19, 2012.

During the closure, all harvest and possession of wahoo in or from closed waters is subject to the applicable bag and possession limits, and the sale or purchase of wahoo taken from closed waters is prohibited. In addition, those bag and possession limits, and the prohibition on sale or purchase, apply in state and federal waters of the Atlantic region for a vessel for which a valid federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic dolphin-wahoo has been issued.

The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to sale or purchase of wahoo that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, Dec. 19, 2012, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.

FB12-090


Contact: NOAA Sustainable Fisheries
Phone: 727-824-5305
Release: Immediate
Date: Dec. 10, 2012

Commercial Harvest of Snowy Grouper Closing to Vessels Fishing in
South Atlantic Waters on December 19, 2012

The commercial harvest of snowy grouper in the South Atlantic from North Carolina through Key West, Florida, will be closed, effective 12:01 a.m. (local time), Dec. 19, 2012, through the remainder of the 2012 fishing year. NOAA Fisheries has determined the 2012 commercial annual catch limit of 82,900 pounds gutted weight will be reached by that date.

The operator of a vessel that has been issued a federal commercial permit for snapper-grouper and has snowy grouper for sale must have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such snowy grouper prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, Dec. 19, 2012.

During the closure, all harvest and possession of snowy grouper in or from closed waters is subject to the applicable bag and possession limits, and the sale or purchase of snowy grouper taken from closed waters is prohibited. In addition, those bag and possession limits, and the prohibition on sale or purchase, apply in state and federal waters of the Atlantic region for a vessel for which a valid federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued.

The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to sale or purchase of snowy grouper that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, Dec. 19, 2012, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.

FB12-089


Contact: NOAA Sustainable Fisheries
Phone: 727-824-5305
Release: Immediate
Date: Dec. 6, 2012

NOAA Fisheries Publishes a Final Rule to Allow Transfer of
Black Sea Bass Pot Endorsements

(Effective January 7, 2013)

NOAA Fisheries is publishing final regulations for a resubmitted action from Amendment 18A to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 18A) on December 7, 2012. 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 Final rule for the Resubmitted Amendment 18A Action Amendment allows 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.)

Addresses
Electronic or hardcopies of the Resubmitted Amendment 18A Action Amendment and the final rule may be obtained from:

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

More Information
For more information on the Resubmitted Amendment 18A Action Amendment please see the Frequently Asked Questions or view the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Web page at: www.safmc.net.

FB12-087

 

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