Date: July 22, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Pamlico Sound, Upper Core Sound to Close to Set Gill Nets
MOREHEAD CITY — Internal waters in Pamlico Sound and upper Core Sound will close to large-mesh gill net fishing Wednesday evening.
The action is being taken due to the number of observed sea turtle interactions in the gill net fishery in upper Core Sound and southeastern Pamlico Sound.
Since late May, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Observer Program has observed eight sea turtle interactions, including two dead green sea turtles, three live green sea turtles, one live loggerhead sea turtle, one live hybrid sea turtle (loggerhead-Kemp’s ridley) and one live sea turtle of unknown species (it fell out of the net before it could be identified).
One of the observed dead green sea turtle interactions was in a gill net set prior to one hour before sunset, which is a violation of state fishing regulations.
Large-mesh gill net fishing in these waters is subject to management measures resulting from a lawsuit settlement agreement between the state and the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.
The state is also seeking a statewide Incidental Take Permit under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act for the gill net fisheries in internal waters. These permits allow for limited takes of threatened or endangered species in an otherwise lawful activity.
The closure takes effect one hour before sunset on July 24, and applies to set gill nets with stretched mesh between 4 inches and 6 ½ inches that are fished south of Croatan and Roanoke sounds to lower Core Sound, as described in Proclamation M-21-2013. The proclamation can be found on the division’s website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.
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 will remain in place until at least Sept. 1.
For more information, contact the division’s Protected Resources Section chief Chris Batsavage at 252-808-8009 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov.