News Release Archives - July 2013
July 31, 2013
Commercial Harvest of Snowy Grouper in South Atlantic Waters Closes on August 10
Commercial harvest of snowy grouper in South Atlantic waters will close, at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on August 10, 2013. Commercial harvest will reopen at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on January 1, 2014. The 2013 commercial catch limit is 82,900 pounds gutted weight. Reports indicate that commercial landings are rapidly approaching the 2013 catch limit.
The operator of a vessel with a federal commercial permit for snapper-grouper that is landing snowy grouper for sale must have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such snowy grouper prior to 12:01 a.m. (local time), August 10, 2013. The prohibition on sale 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), August 10, 2013, and held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.
During the closure:
- Harvest or possession of snowy grouper is limited to the recreational bag and possession limits.
- Sale and purchase of snowy grouper are prohibited.
- The closure applies in both state and federal waters.
- The bag limit is zero for captain and crew on charter vessels and headboats.
This closure is necessary to protect the snapper-grouper population
Date: July 22, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Pamlico Sound, Upper Core Sound to Close to Set Gill Nets
MOREHEAD CITY — Internal waters in Pamlico Sound and upper Core Sound will close to large-mesh gill net fishing Wednesday evening.
The action is being taken due to the number of observed sea turtle interactions in the gill net fishery in upper Core Sound and southeastern Pamlico Sound.
Since late May, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Observer Program has observed eight sea turtle interactions, including two dead green sea turtles, three live green sea turtles, one live loggerhead sea turtle, one live hybrid sea turtle (loggerhead-Kemp’s ridley) and one live sea turtle of unknown species (it fell out of the net before it could be identified).
One of the observed dead green sea turtle interactions was in a gill net set prior to one hour before sunset, which is a violation of state fishing regulations.
Large-mesh gill net fishing in these waters is subject to management measures resulting from a lawsuit settlement agreement between the state and the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.
The state is also seeking a statewide Incidental Take Permit under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act for the gill net fisheries in internal waters. These permits allow for limited takes of threatened or endangered species in an otherwise lawful activity.
The closure takes effect one hour before sunset on July 24, and applies to set gill nets with stretched mesh between 4 inches and 6 ½ inches that are fished south of Croatan and Roanoke sounds to lower Core Sound, as described in Proclamation M-21-2013. The proclamation can be found on the division’s website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.
The closure does not apply to run-around, strike, or drop nets that are used to surround a school of fish and then are immediately retrieved.
The closure will remain in place until at least Sept. 1.
For more information, contact the division’s Protected Resources Section chief Chris Batsavage at 252-808-8009 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov.
Date: July 15, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Jim Kelley Promoted to Marine Patrol Major
MOREHEAD CITY — In his 24 years with the N.C. Marine Patrol, Jim Kelley has worked all over coastal North Carolina.
This is one of the reasons he is the perfect choice for the new Marine Patrol major.
“Jim’s been stationed in all three Marine Patrol districts of the state, which means he understands the fishing activities statewide,” said Marine Patrol Col. Rex Lanier.
Kelley, most recently captain in the Wilmington Marine Patrol District, received the golden oak leaves of a major in a pinning ceremony today at the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Headquarters in Morehead City.
The major is second in command in Marine Patrol ranks. The position supervises all Marine Patrol field operations for the state, which cover 2.7 million acres of ocean and coastal waters and 4,000 miles of shoreline in 21 counties.
Kelley began his career with Marine Patrol in 1989 as a field officer patrolling the Belhaven area. He was promoted through the ranks to sergeant, then lieutenant, moving to Dare County then the Wilmington Area. In November 2008, he was promoted to captain.
In addition to his extensive knowledge of fisheries across the state, Kelley is also known for going out of his way to help the fishing public understand and abide by regulations, Lanier said.
Lanier recalled a time several years ago when Marine Patrol cited a charter boat owner for operating without a for-hire fishing license. Afterward, Kelley learned that the charter boat operator could not read well, and, therefore, didn’t think he could pass the test to get his U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s License, which was a requirement of the state for-hire license.
“Jim helped him get through it,” Lanier said. “He helped him get set up in a special class, and he (the charter boat operator) was able to get his captain’s license.”
Kelley said helping the public understand regulations is just a common sense way to get the public to comply with the rules.
“Anytime that there are changes, and the public doesn’t understand what’s going on, it makes it difficult for them to accept it,” Kelley said. “Once they understand why a regulation is needed and what is required of them, it makes our job easier.”
Kelley replaces Major Harold Knudsen, who retired May 1.
He will relocate to the Morehead City area with his wife, Bonnie. He also has two grown children: stepson Jason Wheeler, of Wilmington, and daughter Kandice Dean, of Greenville.
Contact Kelley at 252-808-8133 or Jim.M.Kelley@ncdenr.gov. Download high-resolution photos of Kelley and the pinning ceremony at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/071513-jkelley-nr-photos.