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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives Oct 2013

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: Oct. 23, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Seeks Public Comments,
Advisers for Clam, Oyster Plans

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 amendment to the state’s hard clam and oyster fishery management plans.

The division also is looking for commercial and recreational fishermen and scientists to serve on a Hard Clam and Oyster Fishery Management Plan Advisory Committee.

The division is beginning a mandated five-year review of the state’s hard clam and oyster fishery management plans that were adopted by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission in 2008. It is anticipated that amending both plans will be necessary as management issues concerning harvesting with mechanical gear and administration of the shellfish lease program have already been identified.

The agency is soliciting public comment on any hard clam and oyster fishery management issues as part of the review process.

Written comments will be accepted until Nov. 15 and should be addressed to Tina Moore or Mike Marshall, N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557 or sent by email to Tina.Moore@ncdenr.gov or Mike.Marshall@ncdenr.gov.

In addition, the division is seeking members for an advisory committee to assist the division in recommending changes to the plans. The division is seeking individuals from the following categories for clams and oysters:

  • Commercial harvesters using mechanical methods;
  • Commercial harvesters using hand methods;
  • Shellfish leaseholders and shellfish Aquaculture Operation Permit holders;
  • Recreational harvesters and Under Dock Oyster Culture Permit holders;
  • Clam and oyster dealers; and
  • Scientists with expertise in clam and oyster biology and shell bottom habitats.

To qualify to serve on the committee, applicants may not have had a significant fisheries violation in the past three years.

Individuals interested in serving as an adviser should be willing to attend meetings at least once a month and participate in the committee process, which includes reviewing scientific documents and issue papers to make recommendations on management strategies. Advisors will be reimbursed for travel and other expenses incurred in relation to their official duties.

Applications are available online at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/mfc-advisory-committees or at the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ offices or by calling 252-808-8022 or 800-682-2632.

Applications should be returned by Nov. 15 to the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557, Attention: Lauren Morris or to Lauren.Morris@ncdenr.gov.

nr-52-2013


Release: Immediate
Date: Oct. 11, 2013
Contact: Jamie Kritzer
Phone: 919-707-8602

Marine Fisheries Requires Pound Net Fishermen to
Check Their Nets Daily

MOREHEAD CITY — For the next two weeks, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will require fishermen with pound nets in certain Carteret County waters to check their nets daily for sea turtles.

The regulation applies to pound nets in southern Core Sound, Back Sound and North River and is meant to protect sea turtles.

A N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission weekly summary of sea turtle strandings and incidental captures has shown an unusually high number of sea turtles caught in pound nets in these waters during the past several weeks. The Division of Marine Fisheries has had 10 reported incidental captures of sea turtles in pound nets (three loggerheads, three Kemp’s ridleys, three greens and one unidentified) and two observed (one loggerhead and one green) during the last several months. Most of the reported incidental captures of sea turtles have occurred since Sept. 21.
 
By checking their nets daily, fishermen can quickly release sea turtles from the leads or the pound without causing further harm to the animal. Also, this will allow for a much more efficient response if the sea turtle needs medical attention. Commercial fishermen should use National Marine Fisheries Service’s safe handling and release protocols (http://www.nero.noaa.gov/prot_res/stranding/SeaTurtleHandlingResuscitationv1.pdf), and report the interaction to the N.C. Marine Patrol (252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632) or the North Carolina Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network (252-241-7367). The fisherman will be informed on how to handle the specific situation and the steps to follow. It is important that fishermen report the sea turtle immediately to effectively respond to the interaction.

If fishermen cannot check their nets daily, the division encourages them to seek help from fellow fishermen to make sure their nets are being checked. Nets should be checked for sea turtle interactions each day even if nets are not being fished that day. Marine Patrol should be contacted immediately if fishermen cannot check their nets themselves, or fishermen should have someone check their nets for them.

For specifics of the regulation, see Proclamation M-34-2013 at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.

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

nr-51-2013


Release: Immediate
Date: Oct. 2, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Tips For a Healthy Oyster Roast

MOREHEAD CITY — Oyster season starts Oct. 15, and people are pulling out their fire grates and steamer pans, getting ready to slurp down the salty treats.

But before they indulge, consumers should take some basic precautions to prevent illness. Here are some tips from the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries that pertain to oysters and clams:

  • Only purchase shellfish from reputable dealers, retailers, grocers, markets or restaurants. It is illegal for shellfish harvesters to sell directly to the public unless they are also certified shellfish dealers. These licensed dealers are inspected and required to keep shellfish under refrigeration and keep sanitation records.
  • Ask to see the shellfish tag before you purchase. By law, the shellfish tag must be removed at the last point of sale and kept on file for tracking purposes, but consumers can always ask to see the tag to look at when the shellfish were harvested and what area they are from. For the best quality, shellfish should be consumed within seven days of harvest.
  • Keep oysters and clams refrigerated until you are ready to cook and eat them. Shellfish need to be kept at or below 45 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Store shellfish away from other contaminants. Shellfish are living animals when you purchase them, so they can become contaminated by placing them on wet floors, splashing them with dirty water or dripping raw fish and other foods.
  • Thoroughly wash shellfish prior to cooking. Remove all mud and dirt from the outside of the shellfish, using water and a stiff brush.
  • Prior to cooking or raw consumption, discard any dead shellfish. Dead shellfish will have slightly gaping shells that will not close when tapped.
  • Those with the following conditions are at higher risk for a potentially serious or even fatal illness from the naturally occurring Vibrio bacteria:
  • Liver disease (from hepatitis, cirrhosis, alcoholism, or cancer)
  • Diabetes
  • Iron overload disease (hemochromatosis)
  • Cancer (including lymphoma, leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease)
  • Stomach disorders
  • Or any illness or medical treatment that weakens the body’s immune system

People with these conditions should fully cook all shellfish before consumption. Cooking the oyster kills the Vibrio bacteria. If you are unsure of your risk, ask your doctor.

For more information about Vibrios, see the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ website at http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/diseases/vibrio.html. For more information about North Carolina shellfish safety, contact Patti Fowler, the division’s Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality section chief, at 252-808-8147 or Patti.Fowler@ncdenr.gov. You may also contact Steve Murphey, with the Shellfish Sanitation Section, at 252-808-8155 or Steve.Murphey@ncdenr.gov.

For regulations on oyster harvest, see Proclamation SF-7-2013 at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations. For more information on this year’s oyster season, contact Mike Marshall, the division’s Central District manager, at 252-808-8077 or Mike.Marshall@ncdenr.gov.

nr-50-13


Release: Immediate
Date: Oct. 2, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Division of Marine Fisheries Reminds Fishermen of Upcoming Meetings on Observer Program Funding

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is reminding fishermen of upcoming meetings seeking input on how best to fund the division’s Observer Program.

The meetings are scheduled for:

6 p.m. Oct. 16
Dare County Administration Building
Commissioners Meeting Room
954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo

6 p.m. Oct. 22
Crystal Coast Civic Center (upstairs)
3505 Arendell St., Morehead City

6 p.m. Oct. 24
New Hanover County Executive Development Center
Oleander Room
1241 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington

Additionally, written comments may be submitted to:

Chris Batsavage
Protected Resources Section Chief
P.O. Box 769
Morehead City, N.C. 28557
Email: Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov

The deadline for submitting comments is 5 p.m. Nov. 1

The Observer Program collects at-sea information about the commercial and recreational catch by watching fishing activity, either onboard fishermen’s vessels or from a division vessel operated in the vicinity of the fishing activity. Technicians record data on different aspects of the fishing activity that they observe.

The federal government requires observer coverage of the state’s estuarine gill net fisheries as a condition of a permit that authorizes the limited take of sea turtles in these fisheries. Without observer coverage, these fisheries must close. Scientists also use the collected information in stock assessments.

The N.C. General Assembly approved a one-time appropriation of $1.1 million to fund the Observer Program in fiscal 2013-14, but approved increases in many commercial fishing license fees to fund this program in the future. The legislature instructed the division to hold at least three public meetings in different coastal counties to seek input in developing a plan for additional funding sources for the program.

For more information, contact Batsavage at 252-808-8009.

nr-49-13

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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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