XIII. Fish Traps/Pots
A. It is unlawful to use or have on board a vessel fish traps for taking snappers and groupers except sea bass pots as allowed in Section XIII. B. below.
B. Sea bass may be taken with pots that conform with the federal rule requirements for mesh sizes and pot size as specified in 50 CFR Part §646.2, openings and degradable fasteners specified in 50 CFR §Part 646.22(c)(2)(i), and escape vents and degradable materials as specified in 50 CFR Part §622.40 (b)(3)(i) and rules published in 50 CFR pertaining to sea bass north of Cape Hatteras (35° 15.0321' N. Latitude). New federal rules for commercial black sea bass pot endorsements and pot restrictions, both of which are effective July 1, 2012, can be found in 50 CFR Part §622.40(a)(2)(xv) and 50 CFR Part §622.40(d)(1)(i), respectively.
South of Cape Hatteras, sea bass may be taken with pots that conform with the federal rule requirements for mesh sizes and pot size as specified in 50 CFR Part §622.40. Copies of these rules are available via the Federal Register notice for South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Amendment 18A, posted on the Internet at http://gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-06-01/pdf/2012-13342.pdf and at the Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557 at no cost.
XIV. Dehooking Tools
It is unlawful to fail to use dehooking tools in both the recreational and commercial snapper-grouper fisheries when the fish is to be released.
XV. GENERAL INFORMATION
A. This proclamation is issued under the authority of N.C.G.S. 113-170.4; 113-170.5; 113-182; 113-221.1; 143B-289.52 and N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rules 15A NCAC 03H .0103, 03I .0102, 03M .0506 and 03M .0512.
B. It is unlawful to violate the provisions of any proclamation issued by the Fisheries Director under his delegated authority pursuant to N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03H .0103.
C. The intent of this proclamation is to maintain North Carolina’s compliance with the requirements of amendments to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region. Effective October 1, 2008, the provisions found in this proclamation were eliminated from N.C. Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03M .0506 in order to allow the Fisheries Director the latitude to comply with changes that occur in the requirements without suspending portions of the rule.
D. Provisions for multiple day trip possessions for vessels without a valid Federal South Atlantic Snapper- Grouper Permit are found in 50 CFR Part §622.39. This rule states in part that a person aboard a charter vessel or headboat on a trip that spans more than 24 hours may possess no more than two daily bag limits of species other than red porgy. A person aboard a headboat on a trip that spans more than 48 hours and who can document that fishing was conducted on at least three days may possess no more than three bag limits of species other than red porgy. Privately-operated vessels are allowed only one bag limit.
E. After a commercial snapper–grouper quota has been met, all purchase and sale is prohibited and harvest and/or possession is limited to the recreational bag limit when the recreational season is open.
F. This proclamation supersedes Proclamation FF-63-2012 (Revised) dated December 11, 2012. It contains the size limits for vermilion snapper and other species whose seasons opened January 1, 2013.
January 24, 2013