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Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - Sep 2014

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: Sept. 10, 2014
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

100-Yard Small-Mesh Gill Net Setback in Effect for all Ocean Beaches

MOREHEAD CITY — As fishermen gear up for the spot and mullet runs, they should be aware that a 100-yard small-mesh gill net setback is in effect for all ocean beaches.

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries issued a proclamation in May that prohibits fishermen from using anchored gill nets with a mesh size of 5 inches or less within 100 yards of the beach. The areas between Cape Lookout and Bogue Inlet and between Carolina Beach Inlet and the South Carolina line are no longer exempt from this regulation.

Additionally, new regulations this year reduce the mesh size allowed in the offshore portion of stop nets, used in the beach seine mullet fishery. The stop net mesh size requirement for the first 100 yards from the beach remains large-mesh (greater than 6 inches), but the size of the mesh in the other 300 yards of net must be 4 inches or less.

These measures were implemented upon the recommendation of a National Marine Fisheries Service Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Team to reduce the risk of entanglements of bottlenose dolphin.

The small-mesh gill net setback was first implemented in September 2013 for all beaches, except the areas between Cape Lookout and Bogue Inlet and between Carolina Beach Inlet and the South Carolina line, after observer and stranding data collected for several years indicated small mesh gill nets in North Carolina continue to seriously injure and kill bottlenose dolphin at levels higher than allowed by a federal plan to reduce interactions.

The take reduction team agreed to try the two exempted areas for three years to allow officials to assess potential economic impact and conservation efficacy of the 100-yard setback. But the take reduction team also recommended that the state implement the setback in both these areas if there was one bottlenose dolphin interaction.

That interaction occurred in a stop net in November 2013. At the same time, there were significant increases in small mesh gill net fishing activity in the exempted areas, according to a letter from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Run-around, strike nets and drop nets, used to surround a school of fish and then immediately retrieve them, are exempt from the 100-yard setback.

For more information, contact Chris Batsavage, with the Division of Marine Fisheries, at 252-808-8009 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov.

For specifics on these regulations see Proclamation M-20-2014 for the gill nets and Proclamation M-28-2014 for the stop nets at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.


Release: Immediate
Date: Sep. 4, 2014
Contact: NOAA
Phone: 727-824-5305

Commercial Harvest of Red Snapper in South Atlantic Waters
Will Close on September 9, 2014

Commercial harvest of red snapper in South Atlantic waters will close at 12:01 a.m. (local time) September 9, 2014. The 2014 commercial catch limit is 50,994 pounds gutted weight. Reports indicate that commercial landings are rapidly approaching the 2014 catch limit and harvest should close.

The operator of a vessel that has been issued a federal commercial permit for snapper-grouper and that is landing red snapper for sale must have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such red snapper prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, September 9, 2014. The prohibition on sale does not apply to sale or purchase of red snapper that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m. (local time) September 9, 2014, and held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.
 
During the closure:

  • Sale and purchase of red snapper are prohibited.
  • The closure applies in both state and federal waters.

This closure is necessary to protect the snapper-grouper resource.

Amendment 28 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic established the annual process to determine red snapper fishing seasons and harvest amounts. If NOAA Fisheries determines that commercial and recreational red snapper seasons can occur in 2015, an announcement will be made in a Fishery Bulletin next year.

FB14-065

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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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