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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - nr-29-2016 Crab

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: Mar. 28, 2016
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

State seeking public comment on management options
required to improve blue crab stock

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is accepting public comment on management options for the blue crab fishery. The management measures are required under Amendment 2 to the N.C. Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan to improve the condition of the state’s blue crab stock.

Division staff will discuss the possible management measures and receive public comment at the following upcoming advisory committee meetings:

  • Southern Regional Advisory Committee
    April 6, 5:30 p.m.
    N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office
    5285 U.S. 70 West, Morehead City
     
  • Northern Regional Advisory Committee
    April 7, 5:30 p.m.
    N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Washington Regional Office
    943 Washington Square Mall, Washington
     
  • Shellfish/Crustacean Advisory Committee
    April 14. 6 p.m.
    N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office
    5285 U.S.70 West, Morehead City

Additionally, comments can be directed by phone to division biologists Jason Rock at 252-948-3874 or Corrin Flora at 252-264-3911, or by email to Jason.Rock@ncdenr.gov or Corrin.Flora@ncdenr.gov.

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission is scheduled to consider management action at its May meeting. Possible management options include:

  • Increasing the minimum size limit for male and immature female crabs
  • Establishing a seasonal size limit on peeler crabs
  • Reducing the tolerance of sub-legal size blue crabs to a minimum of 5 percent and/or implementing gear modifications to reduce sublegal catch
  • Eliminating the harvest of v-apron immature hard crab females
  • Restricting the harvest of sponge crabs
  • Prohibiting all harvest of sponge crabs and/or requiring sponge crab excluders in pots in specific areas
  • Closing the crab spawning sanctuaries from Sept. 1 to Feb. 28 and possibly imposing further restriction
  • Expanding existing and/or designating new crab spawning sanctuaries
  • Closing the fishery by season and/or gear
  • Gear modifications in the crab trawl fishery

Management measures will be implemented by proclamation following the commission’s May meeting.

Management action is required under Amendment 2 to the N.C. Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan, adopted by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission in November 2013. Amendment 2 uses an adaptive management framework based on the condition of the Blue Crab Traffic Light, which requires annual evaluation of three indicators to determine if any change in management is warranted. The indicators are adult abundance, the abundance of juvenile crabs in the stock (recruit abundance), and production (which evaluates the reproductive potential or resilience of the stock).

The annual evaluation has been completed, and management thresholds have been exceeded, requiring management action.

For more information, go to http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/home under “Hot Topics.”

nr-29-2016

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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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