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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - nr-17-13 Sheepshead

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: April, 2 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Public Input Sought on Management of Sheepshead Fishery

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is seeking public input on how to best manage the sheepshead fishery.

Three advisory committees have scheduled upcoming meetings to discuss whether to recommend that the Marine Fisheries Commission give the director of the Division of Marine Fisheries proclamation authority to specify seasons, fishing areas, size limits, trip limits and gear limits for sheepshead. Also, a range of size and bag limits will be presented to gather public comments.

The meeting agendas are attached. They are set for:

April 17 at 6 p.m.
Southern Regional Advisory Committee
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Wilmington Office
127 Cardinal Drive Ext., Wilmington
Contacts: Chip Collier, 910-796-7215 or Chip.Collier@ncdenr.gov
Mike Marshall, 252-808-8077 or Mike.Marshall@ncdenr.gov

April 18 at 6 p.m.
Northern Regional Advisory Committee
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Office
943 Washington Square Mall, Washington
Contacts: Kathy Rawls, 252-264-3911 or Kathy.Rawls@ncdenr.gov
Katy West, 252-946-6481 or Katy.West@ncdenr.gov

April 23 at 10:30 a.m.
Finfish Advisory Committee
Division of Marine Fishery Central District Office
5285 Hwy 70 West, Morehead City
Contacts: Kathy Rawls, 252-264-3911 or Kathy.Rawls@ncdenr.gov
David Taylor, 252-808-8074 or David.L.Taylor@ncdenr.gov

Comments may also be sent in writing to Chip Collier, 127 Cardinal Dr., Wilmington, NC 28405 or Chip.Collier@ncdenr.gov.

Sheepshead is a highly sought recreational fish and is caught in a variety of commercial fisheries. Until last year, sheepshead was managed under the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Snapper-Grouper Fishery Management Plan, and was included in a 20-fish snapper-grouper recreational bag limit aggregate. When sheepshead was removed from the South Atlantic plan, management of the fishery was left up to the state. No state regulations prevent overfishing of sheepshead. If adopted, a rule giving the division director proclamation authority wouldn’t take effect until at least April 1, 2014.

There are no published stock assessments for the North Carolina stock of sheepshead; however, it is a common practice in fisheries management to set size limits to allow fish to reach spawning size. Most sheepshead are mature at 12 inches fork length, and all are mature at 14 inches.

nr-17-13

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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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