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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Proclamation FF-32-2015

Marine Fisheries

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FF-32-2015

PROCLAMATION

RE: SNAPPER-GROUPER COMPLEX - COMMERCIAL PURPOSES

Dr. Louis B. Daniel III, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective 12:01 A.M., Tuesday, June 23, 2015 the following restrictions will apply to the commercial fisheries for snapper-grouper:

I. Permit Requirements

A. It is unlawful to sell, offer for sale, or exceed the recreational bag limits of any species of the Snapper-Grouper complex specified in 50 CFR Part §622.187(b) unless the vessel owner has been issued a valid Federal Commercial South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Permit.

B. For a vessel with both a valid Federal South Atlantic Charter/Headboat Permit for Snapper Grouper and a valid Federal Commercial South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Permit it is unlawful to exceed the recreational bag limits for snapper grouper species when fishing with more than four persons (including captain and mate) on board, or when carrying paying customers.

C. For a vessel with both a valid Federal South Atlantic Charter/Headboat Permit for Snapper Grouper and a valid Federal Commercial South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Permit it is unlawful to sell or offer for sale any species of the Snapper Grouper Complex harvested when fishing with more than four persons (including captain and mate) on board or when carrying paying customers.

D. It is unlawful to purchase any species of the snapper grouper complex taken from waters under the jurisdiction of North Carolina or the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council without a valid Federal South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Dealer Permit or valid Federal Gulf and South Atlantic Dealer Permit.

E. It is unlawful to purchase any species of the snapper grouper complex taken from waters under the jurisdiction of North Carolina or the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council from a vessel that does not hold a valid Federal Commercial South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Permit.

F. It is unlawful to possess more than one trip limit of snapper grouper complex species at any time excluding licensed finfish dealers with a valid Federal Snapper Grouper Dealer Permit or Gulf and South Atlantic Dealer permit.

G. It is unlawful to take black sea bass using pot gear without having both a valid Federal Commercial Snapper Grouper Permit and a valid Federal South Atlantic Black Sea Bass Pot Endorsement onboard.
H. It is unlawful to take golden tilefish using longline gear without having both a valid Federal Commercial Snapper Grouper Permit and a valid Federal South Atlantic Golden Tilefish Longline Endorsement onboard.

II. Black Sea Bass, south of Cape Hatteras (35° 15.0321’ N. Latitude):

A. It is unlawful to possess black sea bass less than 11 inches total length.

B. It is unlawful to use hook-and-line gear to possess:
1. From January 1 through April 30, more than 354 pounds whole weight (300 pounds gutted weight) of black sea bass per trip;
2. From May 1 through December 31, more than 1,180 pounds whole weight (1,000 pounds gutted weight) of black sea bass per trip.
C. For a vessel with a valid federal Black Sea Bass Pot Endorsement using pot gear:
1. It is unlawful to possess more than 1,180 pounds whole weight (1,000 pounds gutted weight) of black sea bass per trip from May 1 through October 31.
2. It is unlawful to use pots to harvest black sea bass from November 1 through April 30.
3. It is unlawful to possess on board more than 35 pots when in possession of black sea bass.
4. It is unlawful to fail to remove all sea bass pots from the water and return the vessel to a dock, berth, beach, seawall or ramp at the conclusion of a trip.

III. Groupers

A. It is unlawful to possess speckled hind, Warsaw grouper, Nassau grouper, and goliath grouper.

B. It is unlawful to possess black grouper or gag grouper less than 24 inches total length.

C. It is unlawful to possess red grouper, yellowfin (fireback) grouper, yellowmouth grouper or scamp less than 20 inches total length.

D. It is unlawful to possess shallow water grouper species taken from the waters under the jurisdiction of North Carolina or the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council from January 1 through April 30. Shallow water grouper species include gag grouper, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, rock hind, red hind, coney, graysby, yellowfin grouper and yellowmouth grouper. Effective May 1, 2015 it is unlawful to possess more than 1,000 pounds (gutted weight) of gag grouper per trip.

E. It unlawful to possess more than 100 pounds (gutted weight) of snowy grouper per trip.

IV. Greater Amberjack

A. It is unlawful to possess greater amberjack less than 36 inches fork length.

B. It is unlawful to possess more than 1,200 pounds (gutted weight) of greater amberjack per trip.

C. It is unlawful to possess more than one greater amberjack per person per day, or one per person per trip (whichever is more restrictive) during the month of April.

D. It is unlawful to sell or offer for sale greater amberjack during the month of April.

V. Other Jacks
It is unlawful to sell or offer for sale almaco jack, banded rudderfish and lesser amberjack taken from waters under the jurisdiction of North Carolina or the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Commercial harvest will re-open at 12:01 A.M. on January 1, 2016.

VI. Red Snapper
It is unlawful to possess red snapper taken from waters under the jurisdiction of North Carolina or the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

VII. Vermilion Snapper
It is unlawful to sell or offer for sale vermilion snapper taken from waters under the jurisdiction of North Carolina or the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Commercial harvest will reopen at 12:01 A.M. on July 1, 2015.

VIII. Hogfish (hog snapper):

A. It is unlawful to possess hogfish less than 12 inches fork length.

B. For a single day trip, it is unlawful to possess more than 150 pounds (gutted weight) of hogfish per vessel, regardless of the number of persons onboard.

C. For trips of more than one day, it is unlawful to possess more than 100 (gutted weight) pounds of hogfish per vessel, regardless of the number of persons onboard, for each additional day up to seven days. It is unlawful to possess more than 750 pounds (gutted weight) of hogfish in seven days. It is unlawful for vessels targeting hogfish to fail to call Marine Patrol Communications at 800-682-2632 and report date of departure prior to leaving the dock.

IX. Other Snappers

A. It is unlawful to possess silk snapper, blackfin snapper, yellowtail snapper, dog snapper, cubera snapper, queen snapper, gray snapper and mahogany snapper less than 12 inches total length.

B. It is unlawful to possess mutton snapper less than 16 inches total length.
C. It is unlawful to possess lane snapper less than 8 inches total length.

X. Red Porgy

A. It is unlawful to possess red porgy less than 14 inches total length.

B. It is unlawful to sell or offer for sale red porgy taken from waters under the jurisdiction of North Carolina or the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council from January 1 through April 30 of each year.

C. It is unlawful to possess more than 120 individual red porgy per vessel per trip from May 1 through December 31.

XI. Other Porgies
The Porgies Complex includes scup (south of Cape Hatteras only, 35° 15.0321’ N. Latitude), whitebone porgy, jolthead porgy, knobbed porgy, and saucereye porgy. The commercial season is open with no commercial size limits or trip limits.

XII. Golden Tilefish

A. For a vessel with a valid federal Golden Tilefish Longline Endorsement:
1. It is unlawful to sell or offer for sale golden tilefish taken by longline gear. The fishery will re-open January 1, 2016.
2. It is unlawful to take golden tilefish by hook-and-line gear.
B. It is unlawful to possess more than 500 pounds (gutted weight) of golden tilefish taken by hook-and-line per trip.
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