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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

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

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: Sept. 23, 2013
Contact: Rick DeVictor
Phone: 727-824-5305

NOAA Fisheries is Increasing Catch Limits for Black Sea Bass in the South Atlantic and Implementing an Annual Prohibition of Pot Gear

Small Entity Compliance Guide


NOAA Fisheries is increasing catch limits for black sea bass in the South Atlantic (effective September 23, 2013) and implementing an annual prohibition on the use of black sea bass pots from November 1 through April 30 (effective October 23, 2013). The actions are specified in the final rule for Regulatory Amendment 19 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Regulatory Amendment 19).

Catch Limits
This rule increases the commercial and recreational annual catch limits as indicated in the table below.

Fishing Year1 Commercial annual
catch limit2
Recreational annual
catch limit2
2013-2014 780,020 1,033,980
2014-2015 780,020 1,033,980
2015-2016 780,020 1,033,980
2016-20173 755,274 1,001,177
1The fishing years are from June 1 through May 31.
2Values are in pounds whole weight.
3The annual catch limits for 2016-2017 will remain in place until modified.

According to a 2013 population assessment, the black sea bass population is not undergoing overfishing (fish being removed too quickly), is not overfished (too few fish in the population), and is rebuilt. The assessment results suggest the black sea bass catch levels may be increased without jeopardizing the health of the population.

Harvest Prohibition Using Pot Gear
This rule also prohibits the use of black sea bass pots annually from November 1 through April 30. The prohibition is a precautionary measure to prevent interactions between black sea bass pot gear and whales listed under the Endangered Species Act during large whale migrations and the right whale calving season off the southeastern coast.

More information, including Frequently Asked Questions for Regulatory Amendment 19, may be found online at:
http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/sg/2013/reg_am19/index.html

Additional information on management of black sea bass in the South Atlantic may be found at:
http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/sg/bsb/index.html.

This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.

FB13-079


Release: Immediate
Date: Sept. 18, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Shad, Black Drum Fisheries on Advisory Committees’ Agendas

MOREHEAD CITY — Issues concerning the American and hickory shad fisheries, as well as the black drum fishery, are slated for discussion by three advisory committees to the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission at meetings in October.

The Finfish Advisory Committee and the Southern and Northern regional advisory committees will discuss whether to recommend that the Marine Fisheries Commission issue a moratorium on commercial and recreational harvests of American and hickory shad in North Carolina waters under jurisdiction of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries effective Jan. 1, 2014.
The Marine Fisheries Commission, at its August meeting, discussed whether to ask the director of the Division of Marine Fisheries to implement the moratorium by proclamation due to biological impacts, bycatch issues and user conflicts.

The committees also will discuss what black drum harvest limits to recommend the Marine Fisheries Commission adopt. An Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Interstate Fishery Management Plan requires states to implement possession limits and a minimum size limit of at least 12 inches by Jan. 1, 2014 and at least 14 inches by Jan. 1, 2016.

The meetings are set for:

Southern Advisory Committee
6 p.m. Oct. 2
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Wilmington Regional Office
127 Cardinal Drive Extension, Wilmington

Northern Advisory Committee
6 p.m. Oct. 3
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Washington Regional Office
943 Washington Square Mall, Washington

Finfish Advisory Committee
10:30 a.m. Oct. 15
Craven County Cooperative Extension Office
300 Industrial Drive, New Bern

For more information on the shad issue, contact Division of Marine Fisheries Northern District Manager Kathy Rawls at 252-264-3911 or Kathy.Rawls@ncdenr.gov.

For more information on the black drum issue, contact division biologist Chris Stewart at 910-796-7370 or Chris.Stewart@ncdenr.gov.

nr-45-13


Release: Immediate
Date: Sept. 18, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Division of Marine Fisheries Seeks Input on Funding for Observer Program

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is seeking input from the commercial fishing industry on how best to fund the division’s Observer Program.

The Observer Program collects at-sea information about the commercial and recreational catch by watching fishing activity, either onboard fishing 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 year 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.

The division will hold these meetings at:

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:

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.

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

nr-44-13

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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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