RE: STRIPED BASS SEASON —GILL NETS ATLANTIC OCEAN
Dr. Louis B. Daniel III, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at 12:01 A.M., Friday, January 1, 2016 the season for the harvest of striped bass with gill nets in the Atlantic Ocean waters of North Carolina SHALL OPEN. The following restrictions shall apply:
I. SIZE LIMIT
It is unlawful to possess, transport, buy, sell or offer for sale striped bass less than 28 inches total length taken from the Atlantic Ocean.
II. HARVEST AND LANDING RESTRICTIONS
A. The quota for the gill net fishery will be 120,120 pounds.
B. It is unlawful to take striped bass with a gill net from the Atlantic Ocean without having an Atlantic Ocean Striped Bass Commercial Gear Permit (AOSBCGP) designated for the gill net fishery.
C. It is unlawful to possess striped bass taken with a gill net from the Atlantic Ocean without having an AOSBCGP designated for the gill net fishery except that possession of striped bass transferred from a properly permitted AOSBCGP gill net operation to AOSBCGP holders for any gear (gill nets, beach seines or trawls) is allowed. Transfers will count against the gill net portion of the quota regardless of the type of AOSBCGP held by the person receiving the transfer.
D. It is unlawful for an AOSBCGP gill net permit holder to land or sell more than 50 striped bass per calendar day.
E. It is unlawful for a dealer to purchase more than 50 striped bass from an AOSBCGP gill net permit holder per calendar day.
F. It is unlawful for an AOSBCGP gill net permit holder to possess more than 50 striped bass per calendar day unless the striped bass exceeding the limit are being transferred to another holder of an AOSBCGP. These transfers shall take place in the Atlantic Ocean.
G. Striped bass harvested in this fishery may be sold only to and purchased by a currently licensed finfish dealer possessing a valid 2015/2016 Striped Bass Dealer Permit validated for the Atlantic Ocean.
H. It is unlawful for an AOSBCGP holder to fail to accompany each harvest limit of striped bass until the time of sale to a dealer who possesses a valid 2015/2016 Striped Bass Dealer Permit validated for the Atlantic Ocean.
I. It is unlawful to sell, offer for sale, or purchase striped bass taken by hook and line.
III. GILL NET CONSTRUCTION AND USE REQUIREMENTS
For the purpose of this proclamation, a gill net is defined as a net deployed from and retrieved into a vessel and set vertically in the water to capture fish by entanglement by the gills in its mesh as a result of net design, construction, mesh size, webbing diameter or method in which it is used.
IV. SEASON CLOSURE
The Atlantic Ocean gill net season for striped bass shall close by proclamation when the harvest allocation is reached or 8:00 P.M. on February 14, 2016, whichever occurs first. The February 15 through March 15 gill net closurein the Atlantic Ocean is due to federal harbor porpoise restrictions.