Date: Mar. 4, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Public Meeting Scheduled on Cape Carteret Net Restrictions
MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a meeting to explain management measures that will take effect this month to reduce conflicts between fishermen and residents in Cape Carteret.
The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. March 7 at the division’s Central District Office, 5285 Highway 70 West, Morehead City. The meeting is open to the public.
At its Feb. 28 meeting, the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission voted to restrict gill nets and seines in portions of Deer Creek and Schoolhouse Creek (Rocky Run Creek) in Cape Carteret at night between October and April. The restrictions will:
- Prohibit gillnets and seines from 8:30 p.m. to sunrise from Oct. 1 to March 31;
- Require fishermen to place reflectors on every 50 yards of net;
- Require that the nets to be set down middle of creek;
- Limit net lengths to 200 yards; and
- Require fishermen to attend their nets at all times and move them as necessary to allow reasonable navigation.
Public comments will be limited to these measures.
Conflicts between fishermen and Cape Carteret residents have been ongoing since at least 2008, when town residents unsuccessfully petitioned the commission for rulemaking to close or restrict gill net fishing in the creeks at night. More recently, the town asked the division to prohibit all gill nets and seines in the creeks and entrance channel from sunset to sunrise, year round.
Residents complained that the fishermen were beating oars on docks, shining spotlights into houses, threatening residents and causing a hazard to navigation. Fishermen said they need to fish for mullet, spotted seatrout and flounder at night and want to avoid increased conflict with daytime boat traffic and recreational fishing.
The parties have been unable to agree on a solution through discussions with division staff, local law enforcement and a formal mediation process.
The regulations that were adopted represent the commission’s attempt to find middle ground between concessions fishermen offered during mediation and the residents’ request for a year-round nighttime closure.
The regulations will be put into place by proclamation in the next week.
For more information, contact Fisheries Management Section Chief David Taylor 252-808-8074 or David.L.Taylor@ncdenr.gov. You may also contact the Marine Fisheries Commission office at 252-808-8022.