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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - July 2014

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: July 22, 2014
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Division of Marine Fisheries Receives Atlantic Sturgeon Permit
for Estuarine Gill Net Fisheries

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries today signed an agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service that implements a statewide incidental take permit for Atlantic sturgeon in the estuarine large-mesh and small-mesh anchored gill net fisheries.

The permit, valid until July 17, 2024, authorizes the limited take of Atlantic sturgeon in this fishery under a conservation plan designed to monitor, minimize and mitigate incidental interactions. Atlantic sturgeon was listed as “endangered” under the federal Endangered Species Act in April 2012.

“This is the result of the division’s ongoing efforts to continue to allow culturally and economically important commercial fisheries –southern flounder, American shad, spot and striped mullet – while protecting endangered species.” said Louis Daniel, director of the Division of Marine Fisheries.

Under the conservation plan, the division will manage the estuarine gill net fisheries by dividing waters into seven management units that will be monitored seasonally and by fishery. An annual number of allowed interactions is assigned to each gear type in each management unit on a seasonal basis. If the seasonal number of interactions is met, the management unit must close for the rest of the season.

The fishing year will run from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31 each year.

Requirements of the permit include:

  • Implementing a permit that identifies all participants in the fishery prior to opening the season;
  • Maintaining a monitoring program that consists of onboard and alternative platform observers for at least 7 percent of large mesh gill net trips and 1 percent of small mesh gill net trips;
  • Requiring fishermen to report any incidental capture of a sturgeon to the division at 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 (self-reported interactions by fishermen fishing without an observer do not count toward the number of interactions allowed in the permit);
  • Providing education and outreach on identifying sturgeon species and the proper handing methods;
  • Gathering data on post-release mortality;
  • Reporting incidental interactions;
  • Identifying and managing hotspots.

Daniel stressed the importance of fishermen complying with these regulations, including observer coverage.

“As with sea turtles, if we do not meet the required percentage of observer coverage, the National Marine Fisheries Service can revoke this permit and close the fishery,” Daniel said.

The permit and implementing agreement, which includes management area descriptions and annual allowable takes, can be found under Hot Topics at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/home.

For more information, contact Chris Batsavage at 252-808-8009 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov or Jacob Boyd at 252-808-8088 or Jacob.Boyd@ncdenr.gov, with the division’s Protected Resources Section.

nr-34-2014


Release: Immediate
Date: July 17, 2014
Contact: NOAA
Phone: 727-824-5305

Commercial Harvest of Snowy Grouper in
South Atlantic Waters Will Close on July 25, 2014

Commercial harvest of snowy grouper in South Atlantic federal waters will close at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on July 25, 2014. Commercial harvest will reopen at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on January 1, 2015. The 2014 commercial catch limit is 82,900 pounds gutted weight. Reports indicate that commercial landings are rapidly approaching the 2014 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), July 25, 2014. 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) July 25, 2014, 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.
  • Recreational harvest of snowy grouper is currently prohibited.
  • Sale and purchase of snowy grouper is prohibited.
  • The closure applies in both state and federal waters for a person onboard a vessel with a federal snapper-grouper permit.
  • This closure is necessary to protect the snapper-grouper population.

FB14-052


Release: Immediate
Date: July 17, 2014
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Grant Money Available for Transient Recreational Boating Facilities

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is accepting proposals for the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program for federal fiscal year 2015.

The Boating Infrastructure Grant is a program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that reimburses up to 75 percent of costs for projects that construct, renovate or maintain tie-up facilities and related amenities for recreational transient vessels that are at least 26 feet long. The grant program was authorized by Congress in 1998 and is funded by excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat fuel.

The Division of Marine Fisheries serves as the liaison between projects in North Carolina and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program. Proposals must be submitted to the division to be considered for this funding opportunity.

Some examples of potentially eligible activities include transient slips, mooring buoys, day-docks, floating and fixed piers and breakwaters, dinghy docks, restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, retaining walls, bulkheads, dockside utilities (water, electric, telephone, Internet), sewage pumpout stations, recycling and trash receptacles, navigational aids and marine fueling stations. Applicants must have or intend to construct dedicated dockage for transient vessels to receive funding for these eligible activities.

Boating Infrastructure Grant funds are distributed each year. Grants are available on a two-tiered basis. For Tier 1 (Basic) grants, all states may receive up to $100,000 per grant cycle as long as proposals meet the program's guidelines. Tier 2 (Competitive) grants are reserved for large-scale, more expensive undertakings and are awarded on a nationwide competitive basis. For this funding opportunity, applicants may apply for up to $100,000 under Tier 1 and up to $1.5 million under Tier 2.

For information about grant availability, project eligibility and proposal development, please visit the Division of Marine Fisheries’ website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf, or contact Kelly Price, federal aid coordinator for the division, at P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557-0769. Price may also be reached at 252-808-8168 or 800-682-2632 (in North Carolina only) or at Kelly.Price@ncdenr.gov. The deadline for applications to be received by the state division is Aug. 28. Electronic submission is preferred.

nr-33-2014


Release: Immediate
Date: July 7, 2014
Contact: NOAA
Phone: 727-824-5305

Commercial Harvest of Jacks in South Atlantic Waters
Will Close on July 15, 2014

Commercial harvest of jacks in South Atlantic waters will close, at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on July 15, 2014. Commercial harvest will reopen at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on January 1, 2015. The jacks complex is comprised of the following species: almaco jack, banded rudderfish, and lesser amberjack. The 2014 commercial catch limit is 189,422 pounds whole weight. Reports indicate that landings are approaching the 2014 catch limit for the commercial sector.

The operator of a vessel with a federal commercial permit for snapper-grouper that is landing jacks for sale must have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such jacks prior to 12:01 a.m. (local time), July 15, 2014. The prohibition on sale does not apply to sale or purchase of jacks that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m. (local time), July 15, 2014, and held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.

During the closure:

  • Harvest or possession of jacks is limited to the recreational bag and possession limits.
  • Sale and purchase of jacks is prohibited.
  • The closure applies in both state and federal waters.

This closure is necessary to protect the snapper-grouper resource.

FB14-049

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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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