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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - May 2012

Marine Fisheries


Release: Immediate
Contact: Kate Michie
Phone: 727-824-5305; FAX 727-824-5308
Email: Kate.Michie@noaa.gov
Date: May 14, 2012

Delayed Start Date of the 2012/2013 Commercial Fishing Season for
Black Sea Bass in the South Atlantic

Commercial Fishing Season for Black Sea Bass Begins July 1, 2012


NOAA Fisheries Service is issuing a temporary rule to delay the start date of the commercial fishing season for black sea bass in the South Atlantic. This emergency action will allow time for Amendment 18A to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region to be implemented, if approved by the Secretary of Commerce. The black sea bass commercial sector has met their quota very early in the fishing season for the past three fishing years, and Amendment 18A contains several management measures that would reduce the rate of black sea bass harvest in the commercial sector to address derby conditions.

If approved, Amendment 18A will not be effective before the usual June 1 start date of the next commercial fishing season. This temporary rule will allow management measures in Amendment 18A to become effective before the 2012/2013 commercial fishing season opens, NOAA Fisheries Service is delaying the start date of the fishing season by one month.

Commercial Sector Management Measures in Amendment 18A:

  • An endorsement program for the commercial black sea bass pot segment of the snapper-grouper fishery, where only endorsement holders who meet certain landings criteria and also have a valid Unlimited South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Permit would be allowed to use pot gear to harvest black sea bass.
  • A limit of 35 black sea bass pot tags issued to each endorsement holder each permit year.
  • A requirement to bring black sea bass pots back to shore at the end of each trip.
  • A 1,000 pound gutted weight (1,180 pound whole weight) commercial trip limit for the black sea bass commercial sector.
  • An increase to the commercial minimum size limit from 10 inches total length to 11 inches total length.

Allowing the provisions in Amendment 18A to become effective before the commercial fishing season opens will mitigate socioeconomic impacts and management problems in the snapper-grouper fishery.

*Please Note: If the black sea bass pot endorsement program is approved for implementation, a 30-day freeze on transfers of Unlimited South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Permits with black sea bass landings using black sea bass pot gear between 1999 and 2010 will begin on the publication date of the final rule, which will be announced with another fishery bulletin.

More Information
For more information on this temporary rule please click on this link to the Black Sea Bass Temporary Rule Frequently Asked Questions.

Consider signing up for fishery bulletins via email. NOAA Fisheries Service will begin using a third party as a means to distribute fisheries information by way of our electronic fishery bulletins. To receive fishery bulletins electronically, via email, you must sign up through Constant Contact. Constant Contact is an internet-based distribution service. This service allows you to subscribe or unsubscribe at any time. The electronic copy of the bulletin will be delivered to you faster than the paper copy, is in color, features informational links, and reduces paper use. To receive fishery bulletins via email using Constant Contact, please sign up at http://bit.ly/HQDUEU. You may also sign up for Constant Contact by visiting our website http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/ (sign-up option is located on the lower left side of the page).

FB12-035


Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021
Date: May 10, 2012

Commercial, Recreational Landings Decrease Slightly

MOREHEAD CITY – North Carolina commercial and recreational fish and shellfish harvests decreased slightly in 2011.

The commercial harvest decreased by about 6 percent to 67.5 million pounds, according to landings reports collected by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Trip Ticket Program. This harvest had an estimated dockside value of $72.8 million.

Recreational landings dropped about 3 percent to 13.2 million pounds, according to division Marine Recreational Information Program estimates.

“The decrease in landings corresponds to a decrease in effort,” said Louis Daniel, director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. “Commercial trips were down by 11 percent and recreational trips were down by 17 percent in 2011.”

Commercial Landings
As usual, blue crab topped the state’s commercial harvest, both in pounds and value. Fishermen landed 30 million pounds of blue crab, with a dockside value of $21 million in 2011.

Shrimp took the No. 2 spot, followed by Atlantic croaker at No. 3. Commercial fishermen landed 5.1 million pounds of shrimp, which had an estimated dockside value of $11 million. Fishermen landed 5 million pounds of croaker, valued at $3.1 million.

Commercial fishermen landed 3.5 million pounds of menhaden in 2011, a 172 percent jump from 2010, pushing menhaden to No. 4 in the top commercial species list. The increase was due to a demand for bait in the crab pot fishery. Menhaden dropped out of the list of top five commercial species after the last menhaden reduction factory in the state closed in 2005. The 2011 menhaden landings had an estimated dockside value of $334,299.

Summer flounder rounded out the top five commercial species landed in 2011. Commercial fishermen landed 2.9 million pounds of summer flounder valued at $6 million.

Recreational Landings
Dolphinfish continued to top the list of recreational fish harvested. Anglers landed 3.5 million pounds of dolphinfish in 2011, a 7.6 percent increase from the previous year.

Striped bass jumped from the No. 4 slot in 2010 to No. 2 last year, due to high landings in the ocean fishery in January and February 2011. Cooler water temperatures caused the fished to migrate into North Carolina waters in 2011, something that does not happen in warmer winters. Anglers caught 2 million pounds of striped bass in 2011, up 350 percent from 2010.

Bluefish, yellowfin tuna and Spanish mackerel rounded out the top five recreational species landed in 2011. Anglers landed 993,543 pounds of bluefish (up 4.4 percent), 811,673 pounds of yellowfin tuna (down 1.5 percent) and 470,647 pounds of Spanish mackerel (down 17 percent).

Catches of cobia were down 70 percent, as were porgies and amberjacks landings.

For more information about commercial landings statistics, contact Alan Bianchi, Commercial Statistics Program manager, at 252-808-8092 or Alan.Bianchi@ncdenr.gov. For information about recreational landings, contact Doug Mumford, Recreational Statistics Program manager, at 252-948-3876 or Doug.Mumford@ncdner.gov.

A full landings report can be found on the division website at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=4ab51737-3cfa-4e90-b3c8-e7886c9fcb2c&groupId=38337.

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