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Marine Fisheries - Proclamation FF-36-2017

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FF-36-2017

PROCLAMATION

RE: SNAPPER-GROUPER COMPLEX – COMMERCIAL – VERMILION SNAPPER - TRIP LIMIT REDUCTION

This proclamation supersedes proclamation FF-30-2017, dated August 21, 2017. It reduces the trip limit in the vermilion snapper commercial fishery from 1,000 pounds gutted weight to 500 pounds gutted weight.

Braxton C. Davis, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective 12:01 A.M., Monday, October 2, 2017 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 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 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. Effective 12:01 A.M. Thursday, December 29, 2016 for a vessel with a valid federal Black Sea Bass Pot Endorsement using pot gear the following restrictions apply:
1. It is unlawful to possess more than 1,180 pounds whole weight (1,000 pounds gutted weight) of black sea bass per trip.
2. It is unlawful to possess on board more than 35 pots when in possession of black sea bass.
3. 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.
4. From November 1-30 and April 1-30 each year, it is unlawful to use pots to harvest or possess black sea bass inshore of the rhumb lines connecting the points in Table 1 (approximates depths shallower than 25 meters).
5. From December 1 through March 31 each year, it is unlawful to use pots to harvest or possess black sea bass inshore of the rhumb lines connecting the points in Table 2 (approximates depths shallower than 30 meters).
6. It is unlawful to transit the seasonally prohibited areas described in (4) and (5) of this section without black sea bass pots appropriately stowed as described in 50 CFR §622.183(b)(6)(iii). Transit means non-stop progression through the area and appropriately stowed means all sea bass pots must be out of the water and on board the deck of the vessel, with buoys either disconnected from the pot or stowed within the sea bass pot.
7. From September 1 through May 31 each year, it is unlawful to use pots to harvest black sea bass without a 12-inch wide purple band added onto the buoy line at the end of, and directly adjacent to, each of the currently required 12-inch colored marks required through the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan described in 50 CFR §229.32(b).
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. It is unlawful to possess more than 1,000 pounds (gutted weight) of gag grouper per trip.

E. It is unlawful to sell or offer for sale snowy grouper taken from waters under the jurisdiction of North Carolina or the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. The fishery will re-open January 1, 2018.
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. The fishery will re-open January 1, 2018.

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
A. It is unlawful to possess vermilion snapper less than 12 inches total length.

B. It is unlawful to possess more than 500 pounds (gutted weight) of vermilion snapper per trip.
VIII. Hogfish (hog snapper):
A. It is unlawful to possess hogfish less than 17 inches fork length.

B. It is unlawful to possess more than 500 pounds (whole weight) of hogfish per trip.
IX. Other Snappers
A. It is unlawful to possess silk snapper, blackfin snapper, yellowtail snapper, cubera snapper, queen snapper and gray 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 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 any time during the fishing year:
1. It is unlawful to sell or offer for sale golden tilefish taken by longline gear. The fishery will re-open January 1, 2018.
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.
XIII. Blueline Tilefish
It is unlawful to sell or offer for sale blueline tilefish taken from waters under the jurisdiction of North Carolina or the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. The fishery will re-open January 1, 2018.

XIV. Gray Triggerfish
A. It is unlawful to possess gray triggerfish less than 12 inches fork length.
B. It is unlawful to possess more than 1,000 pounds (whole weight) of gray triggerfish per trip.
XV. Harvest Restrictions
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 XV.B below.

B. South of Cape Hatteras it is unlawful to take black sea bass with pots that fail to conform with the federal rule requirements for configuration, mesh sizes, degradable materials, and escape panels as specified in 50 CFR Part §622.189(b) through (d), and identification requirements as specified in 50 CFR Part §622.177(a).

C. It is unlawful to possess any species of the Snapper Grouper complex except snowy grouper, yellowedge grouper, misty grouper, blueline tilefish, golden tilefish and sand tilefish while having longline gear aboard a vessel during open harvest seasons.
D. It is unlawful to fail to use dehooking tools in the snapper grouper fisheries when the fish is to be released.

E. It is unlawful to fail to use non-stainless steel circle hooks when fishing for snapper grouper species using natural baits.

F. It is unlawful to possess any species of the snapper grouper complex without heads and fins intact as specified in 50 CFR Part §622.186.

G. As an exception to Section I.A., spadefish may be retained and sold in any number without a Federal Commercial South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Permit when taken for commercial purposes in coastal waters.
Snapper Grouper Complex Species

Snappers

Groupers

 

Triggerfish

Grunts

Sea Basses

Blackfin snapper

Black grouper

Wreckfish

Gray triggerfish

Cottonwick**

Bank sea bass**

Cubera snapper

Coney

Yellowedge grouper

Ocean triggerfish**

Margate

Black sea bass

Gray snapper

Gag

Yellowfin grouper

 

Sailors choice

Rock sea bass**

Lane snapper

Goliath grouper*

Yellowmouth grouper

Jacks

Tomtate

 

Mutton snapper

Graysby

 

Almaco jack

White grunt

 

Queen snapper

Misty grouper

Porgys

Banded rudderfish

 

 

Red snapper*

Nassau grouper*

Jolthead porgy

Bar jack

Spadefishes

 

Silk snapper

Red grouper

Knobbed porgy

Greater amberjack

Spadefish

 

Vermilion snapper

Red hind

Longspine porgy**

Lesser amberjack

 

 

Yellowtail snapper

Rock hind

Red porgy

 

Wrasses

 

 

Scamp

Saucereye porgy

Tilefishes

Hogfish

 

 

Speckled hind*

Scup

Blueline tilefish

 

 

 

Snowy grouper

Whitebone porgy

Golden tilefish

 

 

 

Warsaw grouper*

 

Sand tilefish

 

 

*Harvest prohibited;
** Ecosystem component species (not subject to annual catch limits or management measures)

Table 1. Eastern boundary coordinates for the seasonal black sea bass pot closure from

Point

N. Latitude

W.  Longitude

Point

N. Latitude

W. Longitude

1

35° 15’

State/EEZ Boundary

19

33° 06’

78° 31’

2

35° 15’

75° 09’

20

33° 05’

78° 40’

3

35° 06’

75° 22’

21

33° 01’

78° 43’

4

35° 06’

75° 39’

22

32° 56’

78° 57’

5

35° 01’

75° 47’

23

32° 44’

79° 04’

6

34° 54’

75° 46’

24

32° 42’

79° 13’

7

34° 52’

76° 04’

25

32° 34’

79° 23’

8

34° 33’

76° 22’

26

32° 25’

79° 25’

9

34° 23’

76° 18’

27

32° 23’

79° 37’

10

34° 21’

76° 27’

28

31° 53’

80° 09’

11

34° 25’

76° 51’

29

31° 31’

80° 33’

12

34° 09’

77° 19’

30

30° 43’

80° 49’

13

33° 44’

77° 38’

31

30° 30’

81° 01’

14

33° 25’

77° 27’

32

29° 45’

81° 01’

15

33° 22’

77° 40’

33

29° 31’

80° 58’

16

33° 28’

77° 41’

34

29° 13’

80° 52’

17

33° 32’

77° 53’

35

29° 13’

State/EEZ Boundary

18

33° 22’

78° 26’

 

 

 

Table 2. Eastern boundary coordinates for the seasonal black sea bass pot closure from December 1 through March 31 each year.

Point

N. Latitude

W.  Longitude

Point

N. Latitude

W. Longitude

1

35° 15’

State/EEZ Boundary

15

33° 01’

78° 38’

2

35° 15’

75° 08’

16

32° 40’

79° 01’

3

34° 58’

75° 41’

17

32° 36’

79° 18’

4

34° 49’

75° 50’

18

32° 19’

79° 22’

5

34° 47’

76° 05’

19

32° 16’

79° 37’

6

34° 31’

76° 18’

20

32° 03’

79° 48’

7

34° 20’

76° 13’

21

31° 39’

80° 27’

8

34° 12’

77° 00’

22

30° 58’

80° 47’

9

33° 43’

77° 30’

23

30° 13’

81° 01’

10

33° 21’

77° 21’

24

29° 32’

80° 39’

11

33° 18’

77° 41’

25

29° 22’

80° 44’

12

33° 22’

77° 56’

26

28° 50’

80° 22’

13

33° 12’

78° 20’

27

28° 21’

80° 18’

14

33° 05’

78° 22’

28

28° 21’

State/EEZ Boundary

Figures

Figure 1. Black sea bass seasonal pot closure area, November 1 through 30 and April 1 through 30 each year.
Figure 2. Black sea bass seasonal pot closure area, December 1 through March 31 each year.

XVI. 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, 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. Marine 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. After a commercial snapper–grouper quota has been met, all purchase and sale is prohibited and take and/or possession is limited to the recreational bag limit when the recreational season is open (50 CFR Part §622.190(c)(1)). Please see the most recent FF Snapper Grouper recreational proclamation for recreational size and bag limits.

E. Fish harvested under the recreational bag limits may not be sold as part of a state-licensed recreational fishing tournament (50 CFR Part §622.192).

F. Federal rules for commercial Golden Tilefish Longline Endorsements became effective May 23, 2013 and can be found in 50 CFR Part § 622.170(f). Possession limits for vessels holding Golden Tilefish Longline Endorsements are updated effective June 22, 2016 and can be found at 50 CFR § 622.191(a)(2)(ii).

G. Federal rules for commercial Black Sea Bass Pot Endorsements and pot restrictions, both of which were effective July 1, 2012, can be found in 50 CFR Part §622.170(e) and 50 CFR Part §622.189(e) and (f), respectively. Area and seasonal restrictions for the use of black sea bass pots were modified effective December 29, 2016 and can be found at 50 CFR §622.183(b)(6). Transit provisions through seasonally closed areas can be found at 50 CFR §622.183(b)(6)(iii). Additional buoy line marking requirements can be found at 50 CFR §622.189(g) and are effective March 21, 2017. These line marking requirements are in addition to those required by the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan regulations found at 50 CFR 229.32(b) and described in https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/protected/whaletrp/docs/Outreach%20Guides%20Updated%20May%202015/southeast_trap_pot_2015.pdf.

H. New federal permit and reporting requirements for dealers purchasing snapper grouper species became effective August 7, 2014. Please see 50 CFR Part §622.5(c) and http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishery_bulletins/documents/pdfs/2014/fb14-024_dealer_reporting_fr.pdf.

I. 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.

J. Contact the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557, phone 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 for more information, or visit the division website at http://ncmarinefisheries.net. For a quick guide to snapper grouper regulations, please see http://safmc.net/regulations/regulation-fact-sheetsother-resources/.

K. This proclamation supersedes proclamation FF-30-2017, dated August 21, 2017. It reduces the trip limit in the vermilion snapper commercial fishery from 1,000 pounds gutted weight to 500 pounds gutted weight. NOAA Fisheries has determined that 75 percent of the July-December commercial quota has been landed, therefore, management action is required. This trip limit will remain in effect until the end of the current July – December 2017 fishing season or until the quota is reached and the vermilion snapper fishery closes. Please see the following NOAA Fishery Bulletin for more information: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishery_bulletins/2017/052/FB17-52index.html

 

Braxton signature

 


Braxton C. Davis, Director
DIVISION OF MARINE FISHERIES

August 29, 2017
11:34 A.M.
FF-36-2017

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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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