Date: Oct. 16, 2015
Contact: Patricia Smith
Waters in eastern Pamlico Sound and northern Core Sound close
to anchored, large-mesh gill nets
MOREHEAD CITY — Waters in eastern Pamlico Sound and the northern portion of Core Sound will close to anchored, large-mesh gill nets starting Saturday due to interactions with sea turtles.
It impacts waters in Core Sound north of a line from the Club House on Core Banks to Marker 1 at Davis, and shallow water areas of Pamlico Sound behind Portsmouth, Ocracoke and Hatteras islands. The affected areas are part of Management Unit B under the state’s Sea Turtle Incidental Take Permit.
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries staff has observed numerous interactions with sea turtles in the management unit in the last eight days. The closure is meant to avoid mandatory measures that would prohibit large-mesh 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.
Gill net areas in western Pamlico Sound, which is the remainder of Management Unit B, remain open.
For more specifics on open and closed areas, see Proclamation M-20-2015 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