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Marine Fisheries - nr-47-2011 Marine Fisheries Commission Votes

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: (252) 726-7021
Date: Sept. 15,  2011

Marine Fisheries Commission Votes on Striped Bass, Other Issues

MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission voted on striped bass and other issues at its meeting in Raleigh last week.

Among actions, the commission adopted a proposal for a limited entry system for the commercial Atlantic Ocean striped bass fishery, possibly for the 2012-2013 fishing season. The proposal adds hook-and-line as an allowable commercial gear in the fishery.

Approval of this proposal effectively directs the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries to develop a limited entry system for the fishery. The division will bring specifics of a proposal before commission for final approval in the coming months.

For the interim, the commission approved a short-term strategy to manage the commercial ocean striped bass fishery with seasons and trip limits under the same gear permit system used in previous years.

Commercial fishermen wishing to participate in the ocean striped bass fishery this winter need to purchase an Atlantic Ocean Striped Bass Commercial Gear Permit. There will not be a deadline on obtaining this permit this year. The permit costs $10 and is available at any N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries license office. Fisherman can also call the division to request a mail-in application.

At the time of permit application, the person holding the commercial fishing license or license assignment must declare what type of gear he intends to use: gill net, trawl or beach seine. Gear declarations will be binding on the permit holder for three consecutive years or until the limited entry permit system begins.

Beach seine season will open Dec. 1 with a 150-fish-per-day-per-license harvest limit and a four-man-per-license maximum crew limit. The beach seine season will close once the quota is caught.

Gill net season will open Jan. 1 with a 50-fish-per-day-per-vessel harvest limit. The gill net season will stay open until the quota is caught.

Trawl net season will begin immediately after the gill net season closes, but no later than Jan. 15 (whichever comes first). Trawl permit holders will be under a 100-fish-per-vessel-per-day harvest limit. During the open season trawl permit holders may only possess ocean striped bass on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Trawl net permit holders will be allowed a 15-fish-per day-per vessel bycatch from Dec. 1 until the regular trawl net season opens.

In order to avoid waste, fishermen who hold either of the three gear permit will be allowed to transfer fish they catch over the daily harvest limit to other striped bass permit holders. If a trawl vessel needs to return to the dock with more than its daily trip limit for any circumstance, Marine Patrol must be notified before docking. Any overage or transfer at the dock will be overseen by a Marine Patrol officer.
 
Transferred fish will be counted against the quota.

In the event of a fish spill similar to this past winter, the commission authorized division Director Louis Daniel to deduct any quantifiable waste in the commercial Atlantic Ocean striped bass fishery from the commercial quota.

In other action, the commission voted to:

  • Open the Pamlico Sound Gill Net Restricted Area Sept. 19 seven days a week under the same regulations and permit requirements as previous years. However, if there is an interaction with a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, fishing days will reduce to six. If there is a second interaction with a live Kemp’s ridley, the number of fishing days will reduce to five. The commission also authorized division Director Daniel to implement stricter regulations, if needed. The Pamlico Sound Gill Net Restricted Area must close to all large-mesh gill nets for the remainder of the fall fishing season if the fishery has interactions with three live or two dead Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.
     
  • Open southern Core Sound, Back Sound, The Straits and North River to set large-mesh gill nets Oct. 1 under regulations established by a sea turtle lawsuit settlement. Since this settlement only allows this fishery on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, the effective opening date will be Oct. 3.
     
  • Send a draft Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan out for public comment on options for ending overfishing within two years of final adoption of the plan.
     
  • Send Amendment 1 to the Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan out for public comment.

In a special guest appearance, N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall administered the oath of office to three new commission members. Gov. Bev Perdue appointed Joe Shute, Chris Elkins and Allyn Powell to the board in August. Shute fills a seat reserved for someone in the recreational fishing industry. Elkins fills a seat reserved for a recreational fisherman. Powell fills a seat reserved for a fisheries scientist. A high-resolution photograph of this ceremony can be downloaded at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/taking-the-oath.

nr-47-2011

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • (252) 726-7021 or 1-800-682-2632

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