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Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - Sept. 2012

Marine Fisheries

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Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021
Release: Immediate
Date: Sept. 20, 2012

Pamlico Sound to Close to Large-Mesh Gill Net Fishing
to Protect Sea Turtles

MOREHEAD CITY — To protect sea turtles, Pamlico Sound will close to all large-mesh gill net fishing on Wed., Sept. 26.

The Pamlico Sound Gill Net Restricted Area opened Sept. 15, and during the first week the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has documented four interactions between gill nets and sea turtles in these waters. These interactions included one dead and one live endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.

It is uncertain if the waters will reopen this fall. The decision will depend on the occurrence of sea turtles in the area.

By federal rule, all of Pamlico Sound closes to large-mesh gill net fishing from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30 each year. The closure began in 1999 after several instances of fishery interactions with threatened and endangered sea turtles.

However, since 2000, the National Marine Fisheries Service has allowed a highly-monitored, large-mesh gill net fishery during the closure in limited areas of the sound under a series of incidental take permits. These permits, authorized under Section 10 of the federal Endangered Species Act, allow for limited takes of threatened or endangered species in an otherwise lawful activity.

North Carolina’s latest incidental take permit for the Pamlico Sound Gill Net Restricted Area expired Dec. 31, 2010. However, the National Marine Fisheries Service has agreed to allow this fishery to continue while the state applies for an incidental take permit to cover set gill nets statewide. An application for this permit, submitted in May 2010, is still under review.

Specific regulations pertaining to the closure can be found at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamation-m-42-2012.

For more information, contact the division’s Protected Resources Section chief Chris Batsavage at 252-808-8009 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov.

nr-40-2012
 


Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021
Release: Immediate
 Date: Sept. 20, 2012 

Marine Fisheries Clarifies Purpose of Shrimp Meetings

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries would like to clarify that a draft revision to a N.C. Shrimp Fishery Management plan does not recommend a ban on shrimp trawling in state waters.

The draft revision, which is out for public comment, does not recommend any changes in management of the shrimp fishery at this time. It does recommend continuing research on the shrimp trawl fishery.

The division is holding several meetings in the coming weeks to take public comments on this draft revision. At the first of these meetings, held Wednesday in Wilmington, many fishermen stated they had misunderstood the purpose of the meeting.

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.

After initial review, the division determined that no rules or management changes were needed at this time in the shrimp fishery and began pursuing a revision. However, the Marine Fisheries Commission received public comments at its August meeting from a recreational fishing group that announced it was beginning a campaign to ban shrimp trawling in state waters.

After receiving public comments and a review by the advisory committees, the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will decide at its November meeting whether to proceed with the revision or switch to an amendment process to explore changes in management strategies.

The remaining three meetings will be held in conjunction with Marine Fisheries Commission advisory committee meetings at the following dates and locations:
 


 
Northern Advisory Committee
Sept. 27 at 4 p.m.
Vernon G. James Research & Extension Center
207 Research Station Road, Plymouth
Shellfish/Crustacean
6 p.m., Oct. 2
Craven County Cooperative Extension Office
300 Industrial Drive, New Bern

 
Habitat and Water Quality
1:30 p.m. Oct. 2
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Washington Regional Office
943 Washington Square Mall, Washington

 

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

nr-39-2012
 


Contact: Kim Iverson
Phone: 866-SAFMC-10 or 843-571-4366
Email: kim.iverson@safmc.net
Release: Immediate
Date: Sept. 19, 2012

Council Recognizes Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

North Carolina Marine Patrol Officer Jonathan Hall Recieves Award

Members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council awarded its Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award to Jonathan Hall, Marine Patrol Officer with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Marine Fisheries Division. Officer Hall was presented the prestigious award by Council Chairman David Cupka during the Council’s September meeting last week in Charleston, South Carolina.

The award, acknowledging service above and beyond duty requirements, recognizes distinctive service, professionalism and dedication to enforcing fisheries regulations in the South Atlantic region. Nominees may be submitted from each of the southeastern state law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard, and NOAA Fisheries. The Council’s Law Enforcement Advisory Panel provided a final list of nominees for consideration by the Council.

 “Law enforcement is an integral component of the fishery management process. To recognize its importance, the Council initiated the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award last year to recognize outstanding contributions made by law enforcement personnel,” stated Chairman Cupka. During the ceremony to honor Officer Hall, Chairman Cupka announced, “Officer Hall went above and beyond the call of duty to enforce federal marine fisheries laws and to help conserve our important marine fishery resources. On behalf of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, and our federal partners, I want to congratulate Officer Hall on being selected as the Council’s outstanding law enforcement officer of the year for 2011. His efforts have contributed greatly to the conservation and proper management of the South Atlantic region’s marine fisheries resources.” 

As a Marine Patrol Officer with the Marine Fisheries Division, Hall is assigned to Southport, North Carolina, covering the lower Cape Fear River, including the towns of Southport and Oak Island, and surrounding offshore waters. His assignment area includes several federally permitted seafood dealers and most of the commercially permitted hook-and-line snapper grouper vessels in the region. Officer Hall’s duties are extensive and include boat, polluted area and endangered species patrols, dealer and license inspections, providing court testimonies, and community outreach on boating safety and other topics. Officer Hall extends his law enforcement capacity by working closely with personnel at the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Oak Island as well as embarking on joint operations with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

“He has demonstrated excellent leadership skills by providing assistance to both the public in his role as a Marine Patrol officer and to other younger members of his law enforcement team in his role as mentor,” stated Captain Jim Kelly, with the North Carolina Marine Patrol. 

Most recently Officer Hall’s collaborative efforts resulted in the development of several significant cases working jointly with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The joint cases revealed that a North Carolina licensed seafood dealer was under-reporting commercial catches, and some dealers were selling seafood without the proper licensing. Several cases were also made against recreational fishermen attempting to sell their bag limit of snapper grouper species, dolphin, and wahoo. Through his efforts, several cases resulted in both criminal and civil penalties. Officer Hall seeks innovative methods to observe fishing activity while on duty, including the use of web-based and modified concealed surveillance cameras, often spending many hours undercover watching fishing vessels unload in order to capture any illegal activity.

“Officer Hall has successfully cultivated strong law enforcement partnerships as well as good working relationships with the region’s fishing industry, exhibiting a high level of professionalism in his duties,” stated Captain Kelley.

“Receiving the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award from the Council is a great honor,” said Officer Hall, humbly responding to a standing ovation during the award presentation. “I would like to acknowledge my fellow officers and staff with the North Carolina Marine Patrol who provide support for me in my job and who work every day to help protect the marine resources in our state.” Hall continued, “Saltwater fishing has been a passion since my early teens, and I realized at an early age that I wanted to work to protect the resources for future generations. Now I have the job of my dreams.”

In addition to his law enforcement achievements, prior to joining District III, Officer Hall received a “Safety & Heroism” award when he and another officer performed an ocean rescue of two, 11-year old girls during dangerous sea conditions.

 Other nominees acknowledged by the Council’s Law Enforcement Advisory Panel for their service include: South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Officer Sgt. Steve Pop of Pawley’s Island, South Carolina; Ranger First Class Hugh Cooper with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in Brunswick, Georgia; Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Investigator Jill Izsak of Jacksonville, Florida;  and U.S. Coast Guard BM2 Seth P. Thorson, Boarding Officer, CGC YELLOWFIN, stationed in Charleston, South Carolina. “The Council will continue to solicit candidates to receive the annual award,” explained Chairman Cupka. “The award allows us to acknowledge the ongoing dedication of the men and women who enforce fishing regulations and protection of marine resources in often harsh environments and challenging economic times.” 

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, one of eight regional councils, conserves and manages fish stocks from three to 200 miles offshore of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and east Florida.   

 

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