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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - nr-29-11 Core Sound Closure

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: (252) 726-7021
Date: July 14, 2011

Core Sound Closes to Large Mesh Gill Nets to Protect Sea Turtles

MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will close the southern part of Core Sound, Back Sound, The Straits and North River to large mesh gill net fishing Monday.

The action is being taken due to the number of observed sea turtle interactions that have occurred since June 1.

“This is the same general area where we saw concentrated numbers of sea turtle interactions in the summer of 2010, prompting a closure then,” said Louis Daniel, director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. “By doing so, the state is trying to maintain protection of threatened and endangered sea turtles while continuing the flounder gill net fishery in areas where few or no sea turtle interactions have been observed.”

North Carolina’s inshore large-mesh gill net fishery has operated under a lawsuit settlement agreement between the state and the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center since May 15, 2010. As part of the agreement, the division is observing large-mesh gill net fishing in inshore waters to track interactions with sea turtles.

From June 1 to July 13, division observers and Marine Patrol officers reported eight interactions with sea turtles in the southern area of Core Sound. Of those, three were live green turtles, four were live Kemp’s ridley turtles and one was a dead Kemp’s ridley turtle.

The state is also seeking a statewide Incidental Take Permit under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act for North Carolina’s gill net fisheries.

The closure takes effect at 7:19 p.m. Monday and applies to Core ll gill nets between 4 inches and 6 ½ inches stretched mesh that are fished as set nets. The closure does not apply to run-around, strike or drop nets that are used to surround a school of fish and then are immediately retrieved.

The closure area encompasses the southern part of Core Sound, Back Sound, The Straits and North River and all tributaries. The northern boundary line runs approximately from the Club House on Core Banks to Davis on the mainland. The southern boundary line runs approximately from a point on Shackleford Banks to Lennoxville Point to the head of Turner Creek. The eastern boundary is at the COLREGS demarcation at Barden Inlet. For specific regulations, with latitude and longitude coordinates, and a map of the closure area, see Proclamation M-24-11 on the division’s website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.

The closure will remain in place until Sept. 1.

For more information, contact Brian Conrad, the division’s protected species biologist, at (252) 808-8061 or Brian.Conrad@ncdenr.gov

nr-29-11

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • (252) 726-7021 or 1-800-682-263

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