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Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - Nov 2012

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Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021
Release: Immediate
Date: Nov. 13, 2012

State to Take Closer Look at Bycatch in Shrimp Fishery

RALEIGH — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will take a more in-depth look at ways to reduce bycatch in the state’s shrimp fishery.

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission voted last week to initiate the process of amending the state’s Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. Through this process, an advisory committee will explore issues surrounding bycatch and recommend management strategies to address these issues.

In the coming weeks, the division will send out a news release soliciting for applications from those who wish to serve on this committee.

The division is required by law to review each fishery management plan every five years and determine if changes in rules or management strategies are needed. If changes in management strategies or rules are needed, the division pursues a plan amendment, where division staff and an advisory committee develop positions on specific issues that need to be addressed. If no changes in management strategies are required, the division proceeds with a revision, which is a more abbreviated process that involves updating data and fishery information contained in the plan.

The division had initially determined that no rules or management changes were needed at this time in the shrimp fishery and took a draft revision out for public comment. After receiving a great number of comments from the public that expressed concern about bycatch in the shrimp trawl fishery, the division shifted its position and recommended that the commission begin the amendment process.

The commission also selected its preferred management measures for the commercial fishery for a draft amendment to the state’s Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan. These draft management measures set minimum regulations for the commercial flounder fishery that, if adopted, will remain in place even if restrictions to protect sea turtles are relaxed. These limit large mesh gill net sets to:

  • Four nights per week (Monday -Thursday) north of Beaufort Inlet, excluding Albemarle, Croatan and Roanoke sounds and Pamlico, Pungo, Neuse and Bay rivers;
  • Five nights per week (Sunday -Thursday) south of Beaufort Inlet;
  • A maximum of 2,000 yards per fishing operation from Croatan and Roanoke sounds to Beaufort Inlet;
  • A maximum of 1,000 yards per fishing operation from Beaufort Inlet to the South Carolina line;
  • A maximum of 3,000 yards per fishing operation in the Albemarle, Croatan and Roanoke sounds and Pamlico, Pungo, Neuse and Bay rivers.

The above represents the least restrictive management measures that could be in place to end overfishing and rebuild southern flounder stocks. However, more restrictive measures may be put in place to reduce interactions with protected species. For example, regulations restricting the use of large mesh gill nets in Albemarle Sound to 2,000 yards to reduce interactions with endangered Atlantic sturgeon remain in place.

The draft amendment, which already includes previously selected recreational measures, will come back before the commission for final approval at its February meeting after review by the secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and a legislative committee.

In other business, the commission:

  • Approved a draft American Shad Sustainable Fishery Plan for fisheries in the Albemarle/Roanoke, Tar/Pamlico, Neuse and Cape Fear river systems. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is requiring all states to adopt an American Shad Sustainable Fishery Plan in order to continue this fishery.
  • Changed the commercial trip limit for weakfish back to 100 pounds. The trip limit had been at 1,000 pounds but the weakfish catch could not exceed 10 percent of the total finfish catch. The change was requested by two commercial fishing groups that indicated the gray trout catch has been high in relation to other finfish. The two regulations are considered conservational equivalent by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
  • Moved forward with the administrative process for six rules that implement management measures from the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan. The draft rules will come back before the commission for final approval at its February meeting after a public comment period. The rules have an intended effective date of May 1, 2013.

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

nr-46-2012


Contact: Jenni Wallace
Phone: 301-427-8503
Release: Immediate
Date: Nov. 13, 2012 

 NMFS Requests Nominations for the Atlantic Highly Migratory
Species Advisory Panel 

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is soliciting nominations for the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Advisory Panel (AP). NMFS consults with, and considers the comments and views ofthe HMS AP when preparing and implementing  Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) or FMP amendments for Atlantic tunas, swordfish, billfish, and sharks. Nominations for the HMS AP will be accepted to allow representation from commercial and recreational fishing interests, the scientific community, and the environmental community who are knowledgeable about Atlantic HMS and/or Atlantic HMS fisheries. HMS AP Members serve three-year terms, with approximately one-third of the total HMS AP members' terms expiring on December 31 of each year.

Individuals with definable interests in recreational and commercial fishing and related industries.and academia will be considered for membership in the HMS AP.

Environmental/Non-Governmental Organizations are also represented, but no positions are vacant this year. Nominations are invited from all individuals and constituent groups. Nomination packages should include:

1.The name of the nominee and a description of his/her interest or expertise in HMS or in particular species of sharks, swordfish, tunas, or billfish and specifically describe how the nominee meets the criteria below;
2. Contact information including mailing address, phone, and email of the nominee;
3. A statement of background and/or qualifications;
4. A written commitment that the nominee shall actively participate ingood faith in the meetings and tasks of the HMS AP; and
5. A list of outreach resources that the nominee has at his/her disposal to communicate HMS issues to various interest groups.

NMFS seeks to fill 2 commercial, 5 recreational, and 3 academic vacancies by December 31,2012 (Table 1). Each sector must be adequately represented, and the intent is to have a group that, as a whole, reflects an appropriate and equitable balance and mix of interests given the responsibilities of the HMS AP. Therefore, NMFS will seek to fill vacancies based primarily on maintaining the current representation from each of the sectors, and secondarily by species expertise and/or representation from different regions. The species expertise listed in the Table indicates the current makeup on the HMS AP and· does not necessarily indicate a requirement for expertise in that particular species.

Criteria for membership include one or more of the following: (1) experience in HMS recreational fisheries; (2) experience in HMS commercial fisheries; (3) experience in fishery-related industries (e.g., marinas, bait and tackle shops); (4) experience in the scientific community working with HMS; and/or (5) representation of a private; non-governmental; regional, national, or international organization representing marine fisheries; environmental, governmental, or academic interests dealing with HMS.

This notice is a courtesy to Atlantic HMS fisheries interested parties to keep you informed about the fishery. Official notice of Federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register For further information, contact Jenni Wallace 301-427-8503. 


Release: Immediate
Date: Nov. 9, 2012

Commercial Harvest of Shallow-Water Grouper and Red Snapper in the South Atlantic Federal Waters will Re-open for Eight Days Starting November 13, 2012

The commercial harvest of South Atlantic shallow-water groupers and red snapper in federal waters of the South Atlantic from North Carolina to Key West, Florida, will re-open from 12:01 a.m. (local time), November 13, until 12:01 a.m. (local time) November 21, 2012. Landings information provided by the Southeast Fisheries Science Center indicates the commercial annual catch limit for gag was not met; therefore, NOAA Fisheries is re-opening commercial harvest of shallow-water groupers. In addition, updated landings data indicate the commercial annual catch limit for red snapper has not been met; therefore, NOAA Fisheries is also re-opening commercial harvest of red snapper during the same time frame.
 
South Atlantic shallow-water groupers include gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney. A commercial and recreational seasonal closure is in place for shallow-water groupers during January 1 - April 30.
 
The operator of a vessel that has been issued a federal commercial permit for snapper-grouper and that is landing shallow-water groupers or red snapper for sale must have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such species prior to 12:01 a.m. (local time) November 21, 2012. The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to sale or purchase of shallow-water groupers or red snapper that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m. (local time) November 21, 2012, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.
 
Gag and Shallow-Water Grouper Commercial Size and Trip Limit:
During the re-opening, the commercial trip limit for gag is 1,000 pounds gutted weight. The minimum size limit for gag and black grouper is 24 inches total length. The minimum size limit for red grouper, scamp, yellowmouth grouper, and yellowfin grouper is 20 inches total length. There is no minimum size limit for red hind, rock hind, graysby, and coney.
 
Red Snapper Commercial Size and Trip Limit:
During the re-opening, the commercial trip limit for red snapper is 50 pounds gutted weight. There is no minimum size limit for red snapper during the commercial re-opening.
 
Recreational Sector for Red Snapper and Shallow-Water Groupers:
The recreational sector for red snapper in the South Atlantic will remain closed. The recreational sector for shallow-water groupers remains open through the end of the year, December 31, 2012.

FB12-085

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

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