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Dr. Louis B. Daniel III, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at 12:01 A.M. Saturday, January 1, 2012, 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 in 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.
II. TRAWL MESH REQUIREMENTS
The minimum mesh size for the commercial scup fishery will be 5 inches stretched mesh with a minimum length of 75 meshes from the terminus of the net. For small nets with less than 75 mesh codends, the entire net will consist of 5 inch mesh.
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 Rules 15A NCAC 03H .0103 and 03M .0514.
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 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 2012. 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, 2012. If the Winter I quota is being approached at any time prior to April 30, 2012, a closure proclamation will be issued.
December 21, 2011