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Marine Fisheries - Proclamation FF-07-2017

Marine Fisheries

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FF-7-2017

PROCLAMATION

RE: MONKFISH – COMMERCIAL FISHING OPERATIONS – ATLANTIC OCEAN

This Proclamation establishes permit requirements and season and gear restrictions for the 2017 commercial monkfish fishery.

Braxton C. Davis, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at 12:01 P.M., Friday, March 17, 2017, the following restrictions shall apply to the commercial monkfish fishery:

I. AREA DESCRIPTION:
The Atlantic Ocean in a one mile wide area extending from two miles seaward of the coastline to three miles seaward of the coastline from the North Carolina/Virginia state line southward to Wimble Shoals (Latitude 35° 30’N). In the area of Oregon Inlet, the COLREGS line shall be considered the coastline.

II. PERMIT REQUIREMENT

A. It is unlawful to fish gill nets with a stretched mesh size greater than seven (7) inches in the area described in section I. without possessing a 2017 Monkfish Large Mesh Gill Net Permit.

B. Permits will be issued only to fishermen holding a valid commercial fishing license as authorized in G.S. 113-168.2 and G.S.113-168.3.

III. COMMERCIAL NET AND SEASON CLOSURE RESTRICTIONS

A. It is unlawful to fail to actively fish gill net sets at least once during a 48 hour period, weather permitting.

B. The monkfish gill net fishery closes by this proclamation at 8:00 P.M., Friday, April 14, 2017 unless closed earlier by proclamation.

IV. GENERAL INFORMATION

A. This proclamation is issued under the authority of N.C.G.S. 113-134; 113-168.2; 113-168.3; 113-170.4; 113-170.5; 113-182; 113-221.1; 143B-289.52 and N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rules 15A NCAC 03J .0103, 03M .0512 and 03O .0506.

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. Seasons and areas opened may be closed or modified by proclamation if reliable sea surface temperature data indicates that water temperatures are greater than 11° C (52° F) or should interactions occur between large mesh gill nets and marine mammals, Atlantic sturgeon or sea turtles.

D. The Atlantic Ocean is closed to the use of gill nets greater than seven (7) inches stretched mesh by Proclamation M-29-2016, dated December 6, 2016 from December 16, 2016 through April 14, 2017 with the exception of the monkfish and striped bass fisheries.

E. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan prohibits the use of gill nets greater than or equal to 7 inch stretched mesh at night from December 16 through April 14, unless tie-downs are used from the NC/VA border (36° 33’N) to Cape Lookout (34° 35.4’N). Tie-downs shall be spaced not more than 15 feet apart along the float line, not more than 48 inches in length from the point where it connects to the float line to the point where it connects to the lead line. Night is any time from one hour after sunset to one hour prior to sunrise. The NMFS Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Plan requires tie-downs as described above on large mesh nets at all times from March 16 through April 30 north of the NC/SC border.

F. For purposes of this proclamation, large mesh gill nets are defined as gill nets greater than seven (7) inches stretched mesh.

G. North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03I .0113 specifies that it is unlawful for any licensee under Chapter 113, Subchapter IV of the General Statutes to refuse to allow the Fisheries Director or his agents to obtain biological data, harvest information, or other statistical data necessary or useful to the conservation and management of marine and estuarine resources from fish in the licensee’s possession.

H. The intent of this proclamation is to allow traditional large mesh gill net fisheries for monkfish to be used in state waters of the Atlantic Ocean while reducing the threat of interactions between this gear and bottlenose dolphins, other marine mammals, Atlantic sturgeon and sea turtles.

I. Monkfish Large Mesh Gill Net Permits are available at no cost from all Division of Marine Fisheries License Offices.

J. In accordance with N.C. General Statute 113-221.1 (c) All persons who may be affected by proclamations issued by the Fisheries Director are under a duty to keep themselves informed of current proclamations.

K. Contact N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 for more information or visit the division website at http://ncmarinefisheries.net

L. This proclamation establishes permit requirements and season and gear restrictions for the 2017 commercial monkfish fishery.

 

Braxton signature

 

 

Braxton C. Davis, Director
DIVISION OF MARINE FISHERIES

March 15, 2017
9:15 AM
FF-7-2017

 

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

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