Date: Oct. 16, 2015
Contact: Patricia Smith
Estuarine waters in the northeastern N.C. to close to anchored gill nets
MOREHEAD CITY — Estuarine waters in the northeastern part of the state will close to all anchored gill nets starting Saturday due to interactions with sea turtles.
The action closes Management Unit A under the state’s Sea Turtle Incidental Take Permit, which includes all of Albemarle, Currituck, Croatan and Roanoke sounds and their tributaries. The closure impacts large-mesh and small-mesh anchored gill nets.
The total allowed observed interactions with sea turtles in anchored gill nets for Management Units A and C is eight. Two sea turtle interactions occurred earlier this week in Albemarle Sound and one sea turtle interaction occurred last month in South Creek (Management Unit C). Management Unit C is closed to large mesh gill nets until Dec. 1, 2015, due to Atlantic sturgeon interactions. The closure in Management Unit A is meant to avoid mandatory measures that would prohibit all anchored gill nets in the entire management unit until Sept. 1, 2016.
The waters will not reopen for at least two weeks to allow sea turtles to leave the area.
For more information on open and closed areas, see Proclamation M-21-2015 at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.
North Carolina’s estuarine gill net fishery is managed under incidental take permits for sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon, issued to the state by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The permits require observer coverage. The permits authorize limited interactions with these species, listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, as part of conservation plans that divide the state’s internal coastal waters into six management units. These units are closely monitored for interactions with sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon. An annual number of allowed interactions with each species is assigned to each gear type in each management unit. If the number of interactions is approached, the management unit must close for the remainder of the season or year.
For more information, contact Chris Batsavage, the division’s Protected Resources Section chief, at 252-808-8009 or 252-241-2995 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