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NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - Sep 2014

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: Sept. 12, 2014
Contact: SAFMC
Phone: 727-824-5305

Recreational Harvest of the Porgy Complex
in South Atlantic Waters Will Close on September 17, 2014

Recreational harvest of the porgy complex in the South Atlantic will close, at 12:01 a.m. (local time) September 17, 2014. Recreational harvest will reopen at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on January 1, 2015. The porgy complex is comprised of the following species: jolthead porgy, knobbed porgy, whitebone porgy, scup, and saucereye porgy. The recreational annual catch limit of 106,914 pounds whole weight was exceeded in 2013. If recreational landings are exceeded, NOAA Fisheries will shorten the following recreational fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the recreational annual catch limit in the following fishing year. Reports indicate that recreational landings of porgies have met the 2014 catch limit and harvest should close as soon as possible to minimize overages. Therefore, the recreational sector for the porgy complex in the South Atlantic will be closed on September 17, 2014.
 
During the closure:

  • Recreational harvest or possession of species in the porgy complex is prohibited.
  • The closure applies in both state and federal waters for vessels which have a valid charter/headboat permit for South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper.

Commercial harvest of the porgy complex for the 2014 fishing season is currently open. Commercial landings are updated on the Southeast Regional Office's Web site. Another Federal Register notice and Fishery Bulletin will be published if and when the commercial quota for the porgy complex is projected to be met.

FB14-070


Release: Immediate
Date: Sept. 11, 2014
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Stricter Regulations Implemented for Runaround,
Strike, Drop and Drift Gill Nets

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will implement stricter regulations on the use of non-anchored gill nets in most internal coastal waters.

The new regulations take effect Monday (Sept. 15) and limit the yardage of gill nets used as runaround, strike or drop gill nets to 800 yards and of gill nets used as drift nets to 2,000 yards. The new regulations also limit the mesh sizes of gill nets used as runaround, strike, drop and drift gill nets to less than 5 inches.

The action is being taken to aid in enforcement of closures in waters where anchored large-mesh gill nets are prohibited.

Runaround, strike and drop gill nets are defined in regulations as gill nets that are set and then immediately retrieved. Drift gill nets are defined as gill nets that are used to capture fish while they are moved by water currents and are actively fished and attended from deployment through retrieval.

Gill nets used in this manner have traditionally been shorter nets that can be quickly retrieved and had mesh lengths of less than 5 inches, designed to target mullet and spot. Gill nets used in this manner are allowed in waters that are closed to anchored large-mesh gill nets.

“What we’ve seen over the past few weeks are fishermen setting large-mesh gill nets in waters closed to anchored gill nets, but not immediately retrieving them,” said Louis Daniel, director of the Division of Marine Fisheries. “Instead, these fishermen are staying out with the nets, using them in an anchored fashion to target flounder and only retrieving them if they hear a boat coming.”

This activity has made enforcement of closures difficult, Daniel said.

It could also compromise the state’s compliance with incidental take permits for sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon, since those who use gill nets that are immediately retrieved are exempt from a requirement to hold an Estuarine Gill Net Permit. The incidental take permits require the division to identify all participants in North Carolina’s estuarine anchored gill net fishery.

For specifics on the new regulations, see Proclamation M-29-2014 at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.

For more information, contact Chris Batsavage, Protected Species Section chief, at 252-808-8009 or 252-241-2995 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov.


Release: Immediate
Date: Sept. 11, 2014
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Fishermen Reminded of Estuarine Gill Net Permit Requirement

MOREHEAD CITY — As coastal waters begin to reopen to anchored large-mesh gill nets, fishermen are reminded that an Estuarine Gill Net Permit is now required to set these nets.

On Monday, the Newport River and Bogue Sound will reopen to anchored large-mesh gill nets under regulations stipulated by a Sea Turtle Incidental Take Permit issued to the state by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Other waters closed to anchored large-mesh gill nets since May will remain closed to allow sea turtles to move out of the area.

The Estuarine Gill Net Permit is required for anchored large-mesh and small-mesh gill nets set for commercial or recreational purposes. It applies to those who set nets under a Standard Commercial Fishing License, Retired Standard Commercial Fishing License or Recreational Commercial Gear License.

The permit is free, but must be obtained through the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries licensing offices. Fishermen may submit an application for a permit at any division license office during normal office hours or through the mail.

An application can be downloaded at http://tinyurl.com/EGNP-2014.  Fishermen may also request an application through the mail by calling 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632.

The Estuarine Gill Net Permit is not required for runaround, strike or drop gill nets that are set and then immediately retrieved. It is also not required for drift gill nets that are used to capture fish while they are moved by water currents and are actively fished and attended from deployment through retrieval.

The permit is not required to set gill nets in the ocean.

The Estuarine Gill Net Permit was developed to meet requirements of incidental take permits for sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon, issued to the state by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The incidental take permits require the division to identify all participants in North Carolina’s estuarine anchored gill net fishery.

Fishermen convicted of using anchored gill nets in internal coastal waters without holding an Estuarine Gill Net Permit could be subject to a Class A1 misdemeanor. Refusing to allow an observer to observe a gill net trip will result in suspension of the fisherman’s Estuarine Gill Net Permit.

For specifics on the Estuarine Gill Net Permit requirement, see Proclamation M-24-2014 http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations. For a boundary description of waters reopening to anchored large-mesh gill nets see Proclamation M-29-2014 on this same webpage.

For more information, contact Chris Batsavage, Protected Species Section chief, at 252-808-8009 or 252-241-2995 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov.

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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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