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Dr. Louis B. Daniel III, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at 12:01 A.M. Wednesday, January 1, 2014, the following restrictions will apply to the commercial scup fishery in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cape Hatteras (35° 15' N. Latitude):
I. SIZE AND HARVEST LIMITS
A. No person may take, possess, buy, sell or offer for sale scup less than 9 inches total length.
B. No person may possess, sell or offer for sale more than 50,000 pounds of scup per trip when taken with commercial fishing equipment or for commercial purposes during the Winter I Harvest Period (January through April).
II. TRAWL MESH REQUIREMENTS
It is unlawful to take scup with trawls unless the nets have a minimum mesh size of 5- inch stretched diamond mesh, applied throughout the codend for at least 75 continuous meshes forward of the terminus of the net. For trawl nets with codends (including the extension) of fewer than 75 meshes, the entire trawl net shall have a minimum mesh size of 5 inches throughout the net.
III. 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 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. This proclamation is issued pursuant to action taken by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission establishing trip limits for the scup fishery in the Winter I period of 2014. The intent of this proclamation is to maintain North Carolina’s compliance with the requirements of the joint Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council-Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Fisheries Management Plan.
D. This proclamation sets out the harvest periods and limits for the commercial scup season through April 30, 2014. If the Winter I quota is being approached at any time prior to April 30, 2014, a closure proclamation will be issued.
December 18, 2013