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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

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Marine Fisheries - nr-55-11 Public Comment Sought on Blue Crab

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: (252) 726-7021
Date: Nov. 30,  2011

Public Comment Sought on Blue Crab Management Proposals

RALEIGH – Fishermen will get a chance to comment on the future of crab fishing in North Carolina at a series of public meetings to be held in the coming weeks.

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold six meetings to receive public comments on Draft Amendment 2 to the N.C. Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan. The meetings will be held in conjunction with Marine Fisheries Commission advisory committee meetings set for:

Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.
Inland Regional Advisory Committee
Ground Floor Hearing Room, Archdale Building
512 North Salisbury St., Raleigh
Dec. 12 at 6 p.m.
Crustacean Advisory Committee
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Regional Field Office
943 Washington Square Mall, Washington
Dec. 6 at 6 p.m.
Northeast Regional Advisory Committee
Dare County Administration Building, Room 168
954 Marshall C Collins Drive, Manteo
Dec. 13 at 6 p.m.
Central Regional Advisory Committee
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office
5285 Highway 70 West, Morehead City
Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.
Southeast Regional Advisory Committee
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Field Office
127 Cardinal Drive Extension, Wilmington
Dec. 15 at 2 p.m.
Habitat and Water Quality Advisory Committee
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Field Office
943 Washington Square Mall, Washington

A 2011 Division of Marine Fisheries Blue Crab Stock Assessment determined that the stock is not overfished, but it is unknown if overfishing is occurring.

The draft amendment proposes adoption of adaptive management measures whereby stricter regulations would be implemented in the blue crab fishery if certain biological triggers are unfavorable for three consecutive years. These adaptive management measures use several biological surveys and sampling programs to determine the relative abundance of adult crabs in the population, the abundance of young crabs in the population, and various production indictors for the spawning stock each year.

Other items considered in the draft amendment include:

  • Eliminate the harvest of sponge crabs and allowing no more than a 3 percent culling tolerance;
  • Prohibit the harvest of v-apron immature hard crab females that are 5-inches or greater;
  • Consider a 75 pot per vessel limit in southern Bogue Sound;
  • Open eight non-pot areas (long haul areas) in the Pungo River to the use of pots, and keep the Long Point non-pot area in Pamlico River closed to the use of pots;
  • Use the type of bait instead of pot mesh size to define escape ring requirements in a crab pot;
  • Establish new boundaries for the Pamlico Sound area where closure of escape rings to take small mature females is allowed;
  • Clarify existing rules so that they are easier for the public to understand and they match harvest and enforcement practices;
  • Allow buoyant line to connect a crab pot to a buoy in areas where obstructions exist, as long as the line is not floating on the surface;
  • Establish specific criteria for using proclamation authority to require terrapin excluder devices in crab pots;
  • Allow multiple pots on a line, not to exceed two pots per buoy.

The draft amendment, a summary document of the issues and recommendations, and a summary of the stock protection options can be found on the Division of Marine Fisheries’ website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/fmps-under-development.

Written comments may be sent to division biologist Lynn Henry by regular mail at 1367 U.S. 17 South, Elizabeth City, N.C. 27909 or by email at Lynn.Henry@ncdenr.gov.

For more information, contact Henry at 252-264-3911 or 1-800-338-7805 or at the above email address.

nr-55-11
 

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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