Date: Sept. 10, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
100-Yard Gill Net Setback From Most Ocean Beaches
Takes Effect Sept. 15
MOREHEAD CITY — A 100-yard gill net setback from most North Carolina ocean beaches will go into place Sept. 15 for the protection of bottlenose dolphins.
N.C. Marine Fisheries Director Louis Daniel issued a proclamation today that will prohibit setting small mesh gill nets within 100 yards of the beach, except for the areas between Cape Lookout and Bogue Inlet and between Carolina Beach Inlet and the South Carolina line.
The measure was recommended by a National Marine Fisheries Service Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Team after observer and stranding data collected for several years indicated small mesh gill nets in North Carolina continue to seriously injure and kill bottlenose dolphin at levels higher than allowed by a federal plan to reduce interactions.
The take reduction team recommended trying the two exempted areas for three years to allow officials to assess potential economic impact and conservation efficacy of the 100-yard setback. But the take reduction team also recommended that the state implement the setback in both these areas if there is one bottlenose dolphin interaction.
The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission endorsed implementing these measures at its August meeting.
The restriction applies to commercially- and recreationally-set gill nets with a mesh size of 5 inches or smaller. The restriction does not apply to strike nets used to surround a school of fish and immediately retrieve the catch.
For coordinates and other specifics of the regulation, see Proclamation M-26-2013 at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.
For more information, contact Chris Batsavage, with the Division of Marine Fisheries, at 252-808-8009 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov.