RE: BLACK SEA BASS – COMMERCIAL FISHING OPERATIONS
Dr. Louis B. Daniel III, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at 12:01 A.M., Friday, June 1, 2012, the following restrictions shall apply to the commercial black sea bass fishery north of Cape Hatteras (35° 15.3’N. Latitude):
I. SIZE LIMIT
It is unlawful to possess black sea bass less than 11 inches total length north of Cape Hatteras. Total length shall be measured along the lateral midline from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail, excluding the caudal fin filament.
II. HARVEST LIMITS
A. During the period beginning at 12:01 A.M., Friday, June 1, 2012 and ending at 6:00 P.M. Saturday, June 30, 2012, no commercial fish pot or hook and line fishing operation, regardless of the number of people involved, may have total landings of more than 1,000 pounds of black sea bass taken from the Atlantic Ocean north of Cape Hatteras. The black sea bass fishery will close immediately after the Director issues a public notice that the quota of black sea bass has been landed from the Atlantic Ocean north of Cape Hatteras, or at 6:00 P.M., June 30, 2012, whichever occurs first.
B. During the period in II.A. above, commercial trawl vessels may land up to 100 pounds of black sea bass per trip taken from the Atlantic Ocean.
III. GEAR RESTRICTIONS
Black sea bass pots or traps must conform with the Federal rule requirements for escape vents specified in 50 CFR 648.144 (b)(2) and for degradable fasteners specified in 50 CFR 648.144 (b)(3)(i), (ii) and (iii). (See V.I. below).
Finfish dealers may not buy more than 100 pounds of black sea bass caught north of Cape Hatteras per day per commercial fishing operation unless the dealer has a valid 2012 Black Sea Bass – North of Cape Hatteras Dealer Permit from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries. Permits will be issued only to those licensed fish dealers holding a valid license as authorized in G.S. 113-169.3. Dealers must abide by all conditions of the 2012 Black Sea Bass-North of Cape Hatteras Dealer Permit as set out in N.C. Marine Fisheries Rule 15A NCAC 03O .0503.
Dealers possessing a 2012 Black Sea Bass Dealer Permit shall report black sea bass landings from the Atlantic Ocean through FAX transmittal (252-726-3903) or electronic mail on forms provided by the Division. Black sea bass landings reports for each day’s catch shall be reported by noon of the following day. Trawl landings of up to 100 pounds per trip do not have to be called in daily during this period, but can be reported monthly.