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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

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Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - Nov 2011

Marine Fisheries

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News Release Archives - Nov. 2011


Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: (252) 726-7021
Date: Nov. 30,  2011

Public Comment Sought on Blue Crab Management Proposals

RALEIGH – Fishermen will get a chance to comment on the future of crab fishing in North Carolina at a series of public meetings to be held in the coming weeks.

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold six meetings to receive public comments on Draft Amendment 2 to the N.C. Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan. The meetings will be held in conjunction with Marine Fisheries Commission advisory committee meetings set for:

Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.
Inland Regional Advisory Committee
Ground Floor Hearing Room, Archdale Building
512 North Salisbury St., Raleigh
Dec. 12 at 6 p.m.
Crustacean Advisory Committee
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Regional Field Office
943 Washington Square Mall, Washington
Dec. 6 at 6 p.m.
Northeast Regional Advisory Committee
Dare County Administration Building, Room 168
954 Marshall C Collins Drive, Manteo
Dec. 13 at 6 p.m.
Central Regional Advisory Committee
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office
5285 Highway 70 West, Morehead City
Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.
Southeast Regional Advisory Committee
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Field Office
127 Cardinal Drive Extension, Wilmington
Dec. 15 at 2 p.m.
Habitat and Water Quality Advisory Committee
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Field Office
943 Washington Square Mall, Washington

A 2011 Division of Marine Fisheries Blue Crab Stock Assessment determined that the stock is not overfished, but it is unknown if overfishing is occurring.

The draft amendment proposes adoption of adaptive management measures whereby stricter regulations would be implemented in the blue crab fishery if certain biological triggers are unfavorable for three consecutive years. These adaptive management measures use several biological surveys and sampling programs to determine the relative abundance of adult crabs in the population, the abundance of young crabs in the population, and various production indictors for the spawning stock each year.

Other items considered in the draft amendment include:

  • Eliminate the harvest of sponge crabs and allowing no more than a 3 percent culling tolerance;
  • Prohibit the harvest of v-apron immature hard crab females that are 5-inches or greater;
  • Consider a 75 pot per vessel limit in southern Bogue Sound;
  • Open eight non-pot areas (long haul areas) in the Pungo River to the use of pots, and keep the Long Point non-pot area in Pamlico River closed to the use of pots;
  • Use the type of bait instead of pot mesh size to define escape ring requirements in a crab pot;
  • Establish new boundaries for the Pamlico Sound area where closure of escape rings to take small mature females is allowed;
  • Clarify existing rules so that they are easier for the public to understand and they match harvest and enforcement practices;
  • Allow buoyant line to connect a crab pot to a buoy in areas where obstructions exist, as long as the line is not floating on the surface;
  • Establish specific criteria for using proclamation authority to require terrapin excluder devices in crab pots;
  • Allow multiple pots on a line, not to exceed two pots per buoy.

The draft amendment, a summary document of the issues and recommendations, and a summary of the stock protection options can be found on the Division of Marine Fisheries’ website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/fmps-under-development.

Written comments may be sent to division biologist Lynn Henry by regular mail at 1367 U.S. 17 South, Elizabeth City, N.C. 27909 or by email at Lynn.Henry@ncdenr.gov.

For more information, contact Henry at 252-264-3911 or 1-800-338-7805 or at the above email address.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, NOVEMBER 15, 2011
PRESS CONTACT, TINA BERGER, 703-842-0740

ASMFC Sets Spiny Dogfish 2012/2013 Fishing Year Quota at 30 Million Pounds

Boston, MA – The Commission's Spiny Dogfish and Coastal Sharks Management Board approved a 30 million pound quota for the 2012/2013 fishing season (May 1 – April 30), with a maximum possession limit of 3,000 pounds per day for the northern region states Maine through Connecticut.  State-specific shares for the southern region (New York through North Carolina) are provided in the table below.  Any overages from the 2011/2012 fishing season will be paid back by region or state in the 2012/2013 season. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) forwarded a recommendation for a 35.6 million pound quota to the National Marine Fisheries Service Northeast Regional Administrator for final action prior to the start of the 2012/2013 fishing season.  

Regional/state quotas and possession limits for the 2012/2013 fishing season (in pounds).  Quotas will be adjusted for any over/under harvests in the 2011/2012 fishing season.

 

Northern Region
(ME - CT)

NY

NJ

DE

MD

VA

NC

Possession Limit

3,000


To be specified by the individual southern region states

% Allocation

58%

2.707%

7.644%

0.896%

5.920%

10.795%

14.036%

2012/2013
Quota

17,400,000

812,100

2,293,200

268,800

1,776,000

3,238,500

4,210,800


The Board's action responds to the findings of the 2011 Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) Update on the Status of Spiny Dogfish, which estimates that spiny dogfish are not overfished and not experiencing overfishing. Spawning stock biomass (SSB) was estimated at 373.56 million pounds in 2011, and has exceeded the target (351.23 million pounds) for the last four years.  Fishing mortality (F) is estimated to be 0.093 in 2010, well below the plan's target (0.207) and threshold (0.325).  While the stock remains not overfished, it is projected record low recruitment from 1997 to 2003 will cause SSB to decrease in the future.  Projections indicate that the magnitude of this drop is reduced by lower F rates (quotas).

The Commission's Spiny Dogfish Technical Committee and MAFMC's Monitoring Committee (MC) both recommended a maximum quota of 35.6 million pounds for the 2012/2013 fishing season.  However, members of the public cautioned the Board against setting a 35.6 million pound quota, citing the market cannot absorb a 75% increase in quota and dogfish prices are likely to drop significantly with increased supply.  In addition, they asked that the Board set a lower quota to minimize future fluctuations in the annual quota given concern regarding the limited contributions of the 1997 to 2003 year classes to the fishery.    

Discards decreased by 31% from 2009 (13 million pounds) to 2010 (8.1 million pounds) and the number of commercial groundfish trips decreased by 48% following the implementation of Amendment 16 the Northeast Multispecies Groundfish FMP. Canadian landings have also decreased significantly in recent years (3.5 million pounds in 2008; 249,000 pounds in 2009; 13,230 pounds in 2010). It is believed the Canadian dogfish harvest will not increase in the near future given the lack of demand for the product and the subsequent closure of Canadian spiny dogfish processors.

Based on the recommendation of its Coastal Sharks Technical Committee, the Board approved a 33 fish possession limit for sharks in the large coastal sharks (LCS) species group (silky, tiger, blacktip, spinner, bull, lemon, nurse, scalloped hammerhead, great hammerhead, and smooth hammerhead sharks) for 2012. The Board maintained the 33 fish LCS possession limit since it worked well in distributing the quota in 2010 and 2011 and is consistent with proposed federal shark specifications.

For more information, please contact Christopher Vonderweidt, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 703-842-0740 or cvonderweidt@asmfc.org.


Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: (252) 726-7021
Date: Nov. 7,  2011

New Spotted Seatrout Regulations to Take Effect Next Week

MOREHEAD CITY – New regulations will go into effect Nov. 14 for those who fish for spotted seatrout in coastal waters of the state.

The N.C. Marine Fisheries commission adopted these measures at its meeting last week as short-term measures to address overfishing in the spotted seatrout fishery. The regulations will:

  • Reduce the daily recreational bag limit from 6 fish per person to 4 fish per person
  • Implement a daily commercial trip limit of 75 fish per operation
  • Prohibit the use of gill nets on the weekend in all joint fishing waters of the state, except Albemarle Sound

Joint fishing waters are the brackish upper creeks that are managed jointly by the Marine Fisheries Commission and the Wildlife Resources Commission. Maps showing boundary lines can be found on the Division of Marine Fisheries website at: http://ncfisheries.net/maps/coastal_inland/index.html

The prohibition of gill nets applies to both commercial and recreational nets, large mesh and small mesh nets, set and runaround nets.

The action eliminates a commercial weekend closure on possession of spotted seatrout outside of joint fishing waters. It also eliminates a recreational provision that no more than two of the fish may be greater than 24 inches.

The current 14-inch size limit remains in place.

The Division of Marine Fisheries plans to issue proclamations implementing the new regulations Thursday. They will be posted on the division website at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations

The commission also tentatively approved long-term management strategies for a draft Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan. These regulations will go into place in February 2014 unless additional data becomes available before then that indicates reductions are not necessary. State law requires the commission to end overfishing within two years of final adoption of a fishery management plan.

The long-term measures will:

  • Reduce the daily recreational bag limit to three fish per person.
  • Implement a Dec. 15 through Jan. 31 recreational closure.
  • Reduce the commercial trip limit to 25 fish.
  • Eliminate commercial closures.

The long-term measures are needed because the new short-term regulations represent a 40 percent reduction in spotted seatrout fishing mortality. According to a 2010 stock assessment, a 57.1 percent reduction in fishing mortality is needed to end overfishing of spotted seatrout within two years of final adoption of the plan.

The draft long-term management measures now go to the secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resource and the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations for review.

In other actions, the commission:

  • Postponed discussion on establishing a limited entry system for the commercial ocean striped bass fishery until its August meeting. The commission asked Louis Daniel, director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, to pursue statutory changes to give the commission more flexibility in the state law that authorizes it to establish a limited entry system for fisheries subject to a federal fishery management plan that imposes quotas. The commission would like to change the current requirement that participation in a limited entry fishery be limited to those who landed a minimum number of pounds of fish in two of three license years.
     
  • Selected preferred management options for an amendment to the Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan. The plan now goes to the secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resource and the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations for review.
  • Approved taking a draft amendment to the Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan out for public comment.

nr-54-11


Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: (252) 726-7021
Date: Nov. 7,  2011

Division of Marine Fisheries Seeks Comments on Shrimp Fishery Issues

MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is asking the public to submit comments on issues they would like to see addressed in an upcoming Shrimp Fishery Management Plan.

The division is beginning a mandated five-year review of the N.C. Shrimp Fishery Management Plan that was adopted by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission in 2006. The agency is soliciting public comment as part of an internal process to determine what procedural method to take in reviewing the plan.

If changes in management strategies or rules are needed, the division will pursue a plan amendment, where division staff and an advisory committee develop positions on specific issues that need to be addressed.  If changes in management strategies are not required, the division will proceed with a revision, which is a more abbreviated process that involves updating data and fishery information contained in the plan.

Written comments will be accepted until Dec. 2 and should be addressed to Trish Murphey, N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557 or sent by email to Trish.Murphey@ncdenr.gov or to Chris Stewart, N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, 127 Cardinal Dr., Wilmington, N.C. 28405 or sent by email to Chris.Stewart@ncdenr.gov.

State law requires the division to prepare a fishery management plan for adoption by the Marine Fisheries Commission for all commercially and recreationally significant species or fisheries that comprise state coastal waters. These plans provide management strategies designed to ensure long-term viability of the fishery. State law also requires the division to review each fishery management plan every five years.

nr-53-11

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • (252) 726-7021 or 1-800-682-2632

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