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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - July 2013

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: July 3, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Waters in Southern Areas of State to Close to Large-Mesh Gill Net Fishing

MOREHEAD CITY — Internal waters from the N.C. 58 Bridge in Bogue Sound to the South Carolina state line will close to large-mesh gill net fishing Sunday evening.

The action is being taken to protect threatened and endangered sea turtles during the summer season.

Since late May, the division’s Observer Program has observed six interactions between large-mesh gill nets and sea turtles in these waters. The interactions include two live endangered Kemps Ridley sea turtles, three live green sea turtles and one live sea turtle of unknown species (it fell out of the net before it could be identified).

The interactions were observed in Topsail and Stump sounds and in the New and White Oak rivers.

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 Sunday and applies to set gill nets between 4 inches and 6 ½ inches stretched mesh. For more specific regulations, see Proclamation M-20-2013 at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.

The closure does not apply to run-around, strike, or drop nets used to surround a school of fish that 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 .

nr-31-13


Release: Immediate
Date: July 3, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Advisory Committees to Meet Jointly to Discuss Petition to
Reclassify Coastal Waters

MOREHEAD CITY — Four advisory committees will meet jointly July 30 to discuss a petition for rulemaking that proposes reclassifying most internal coastal waters as secondary nursery areas.

The meeting will be held at 12:30 p.m. July 30 at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center, 203 South Front St., New Bern. To accommodate as many speakers as possible, public comment will be limited to three minutes per person.

The Finfish, Shellfish/Crustacean, Habitat and Water Quality and Sea Turtle advisory committees will be asked to review and comment on whether the state should reclassify waters as requested in a petition for rulemaking submitted June 20 by Tim Hergenrader.

The petition asks the Marine Fisheries Commission to adopt a rule that makes North Carolina’s internal coastal waters permanent secondary nursery areas, unless they are currently designated as primary nursery areas or special secondary nursery areas. The petition states the primary effect of the proposed rule would be to halt shrimp trawling in North Carolina inshore waters.

Under state law, the Marine Fisheries Commission has 120 days from the date a formal petition for rulemaking is submitted to either grant or deny the petition. The commission is expected to vote on the petition at its August 28-30 meeting in Raleigh.

If the commission grants the petition, it will begin a rulemaking process which will include fiscal analysis, notice of text in the state register, a public comment period and at least one public hearing.

Public comment will not be taken on this petition for rulemaking at any Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Advisory Committee meeting because the matter falls outside of the committee’s purview.

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

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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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