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Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - May 2013

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: May 20, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Marine Fisheries Commission to Meet in Morehead City

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will meet May 29-30 at the Crystal Coast Civic Center, 3505 Arendell St., Morehead City. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. May 29 and 9 a.m. May 30 and is open to the public.

The commission will be asked to begin the rulemaking process by approving the text and fiscal impact analysis for a slate of proposed rules that include regulations to implement an amendment to the Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan, to implement new shellfish harvester and dealer requirements and to manage the sheepshead fishery.

The proposed rules will be published in the N.C. Register. The rulemaking process entails a public comment period, including at least one public hearing. The rules would not become effective until at least Feb. 1, 2014.

Additionally, the commission will receive presentations on 2012 commercial and recreational landings, on funding for the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Observer Program, on research the division has conducted on different bycatch reduction devices in the shrimp trawl fishery, and on whether harvest reductions specified in the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan are being met.

The commission will take public comment on any fisheries issue at 6 p.m. May 29 and 9 a.m. May 30. The chairman will allow each speaker to comment for five minutes during the May 29 session and three minutes during the May 30 session. Due to time constraints, those making comments will be asked to speak only once, either at the May 29 or May 30 sessions. Individuals will not be allowed to speak during both public comment periods.

A meeting agenda is attached. A full briefing book can be found on the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/mfc-meetings.

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

nr-21-13


Release: Immediate
Date: May 20, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

New Fisheries Rules Include Electronic Trip Ticket Reporting
for Larger Dealers

MOREHEAD CITY — In the coming months, Trip Ticket reports will go paperless for fish dealers who purchase large quantities of finfish from fishermen.

A new N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission rule requires fish dealers that report annual average landings of greater than 50,000 pounds of finfish for three consecutive calendar years to report landings electronically.

It is one of a slate of new Marine Fisheries Commission rules pertaining to various issues that will go into effect June 1 for coastal North Carolina fishing waters.

The electronic reporting rule requires affected dealers to begin paperless reporting within 120 days of receiving notification from the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. The division plans to send notification letters to affected dealers in June.

Fish dealers have been required to report dockside seafood purchases to the division’s Trip Ticket Program since 1994, but until now electronic reporting was voluntary for all dealers. Transitioning to electronically submitted reports for the state’s largest dealers will allow these files to be processed quicker, giving faster access to data that will allow fisheries managers to make more timely decisions and more efficiently monitor fisheries landings for species managed under a quota.

The division supplies the software program for electronic Trip Ticket filing free of charge. Dealers must use their own computers and internet connections.

The division estimates that the electronic reporting rule change initially will impact about 64 fish dealers in the state; however, 41 of those already choose to file their Trip Tickets electronically. The rule could impact a greater number of fish dealers if they reach the landings threshold in future years.

Once dealers reach the threshold, they will be required to continue to submit electronic Trip Tickets, even if they fall below the 50,000-pound average in later years.

Other Marine Fisheries Commission rules that will go into effect June 1 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.
  • Implement Amendment 1 to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan by:
    • Removing 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 commission and its advisory committees in association with review of fishery management plans
    • Shifting 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-establishing a coordinate point on land for Roanoke Marshes Point that is the western point of the southern boundary for the Albemarle Sound Management Area. 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.
    • Clarifying 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.

For more information, contact division Rulemaking Coordinator Catherine Blum 252-808-8014 or Catherine.Blum@ncdenr.gov.

nr-20-13

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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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