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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - nr-44-13 Observer Program

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: Sept. 18, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Division of Marine Fisheries Seeks Input on Funding for Observer Program

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is seeking input from the commercial fishing industry on how best to fund the division’s Observer Program.

The Observer Program collects at-sea information about the commercial and recreational catch by watching fishing activity, either onboard fishing vessels or from a division vessel operated in the vicinity of the fishing activity. Technicians record data on different aspects of the fishing activity that they observe.

The federal government requires observer coverage of the state’s estuarine gill net fisheries as a condition of a permit that authorizes the limited take of sea turtles in these fisheries. Without observer coverage, these fisheries must close. Scientists also use the collected information in stock assessments.

The N.C. General Assembly approved a one-time appropriation of $1.1 million to fund the Observer Program in fiscal year 2013-14, but approved increases in many commercial fishing license fees to fund this program in the future. The legislature instructed the division to hold at least three public meetings in different coastal counties to seek input in developing a plan for additional funding sources for the program.

The division will hold these meetings at:

6 p.m. Oct. 16
Dare County Administration Building
Commissioners Meeting Room
954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo

6 p.m. Oct. 22
Crystal Coast Civic Center (upstairs)
3505 Arendell St., Morehead City

6 p.m. Oct. 24
New Hanover County Executive Development Center
Oleander Room
1241 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington

Additionally, written comments may be submitted to:

Protected Resources Section Chief
P.O. Box 769
Morehead City, N.C. 28557
Email: Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov

The deadline for submitting comments is 5 p.m. Nov. 1.

For more information, contact Batsavage at 252-808-8009.

nr-44-13

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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