Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: Oct. 10, 2012
Pamlico Sound, Core Sound Reopen to Flounder Gill Nets Monday
MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will reopen certain shallow water areas of Pamlico Sound to flounder gill net fishing Monday with additional time restrictions.
The division will also reopen Core Sound, Back Sound, The Straits and North River to the use of large-mesh gill nets Monday with a maximum 1,000-yard gill net length restriction.
Large-mesh gill nets are generally used to target southern flounder.
The Pamlico Sound Gill Net Restricted Area closed to large-mesh gill net sets Sept. 26 after the division documented four interactions with sea turtles in one week. This was in contrast to last year’s fishing season, when no turtle interactions were observed.
The division has consulted with the National Marine Fisheries Service and determined that it can now reopen these waters and still remain within conditions of an incidental take permit. The division will limit fishing to overnight soaks Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, due to the continued presence of sea turtles in these waters and in an attempt to prolong the fishing season.
By federal rule, Pamlico Sound closes to large-mesh gill net fishing from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30 each year. However, since 2000, the National Marine Fisheries Service has allowed a highly-monitored, large-mesh gill net fishery during the closure in limited areas of the sound under a series of incidental take permits.
The division is bound by the conditions of this permit and will be required to close the waters again if interactions continue.
Core Sound, Back Sound, The Straits and North River closed to large-mesh gill nets May 13 due to increased interactions with sea turtles. The Marine Fisheries Commission voted to extend this closure for the rest of the summer and early fall after the division had determined that these waters accounted for the majority of the sea turtle interactions the state had documented since implementing a statewide large-mesh gill net observer program in 2010.
The commission voted at its August meeting to reopen southern Core Sound, Back Sound, The Straits and North River to the use of large-mesh gill nets Oct. 15-May 7. However, due to the continued presence of sea turtles in these waters, and in an attempt to prolong fishing in these waters, the division will limit the maximum gill net yardage to 1,000 yards.
The division is bound by the conditions of a sea turtle lawsuit settlement agreement and will be required to close the waters again if interactions with sea turtles continue.
Proclamations implementing these openings were issued today. For the specific regulations, go to http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations and click on M-51-2012for the Pamlico Sound Gill Net Restricted Area and M-52-2012 for Core Sound, Back Sound, The Straits and North River.
For more information, contact the division’s Protected Resources Section chief Chris Batsavage at 252-808-8009 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov.
|N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 |