V. SEA TURTLE INTERACTION REPORTING
It is unlawful for commercial and recreational gill net fishermen to fail toreport all sea turtle interactions with gill nets in internal coastal waters to the NCDMF Communication Center in Morehead City, NC by phone at 800-682-2632 immediately. Failure to report interactions is in violation of the statewide incidental take permit from NMFS under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act and could result in closures to the internal waters gill net fishery.
A. This proclamation is issued under the authority of N.C.G. S. 113-134; 113-170.4; 113-170.5; 113-182; 113-221.1; 143B-289.52 and N.C. Fisheries Commission Rules 15A NCAC 03H .0103 and 03J .0101 and .0103.
B. It is unlawful to violate the provisions of any proclamation issued by the Fisheries Director under his delegated authority pursuant to N.C. Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03H .0103.
C. The intent of this proclamation is to implement gill net restrictions under Incidental Take Permit No. 16230 from NMFS under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act.It lists the areas exempted from ITP restrictions for use of large mesh gill nets (defined as 4 inches to 6½ inches stretched mesh, inclusive) and adds Pamlico Sound, Cape Fear and upper New River to those exempted areas so that the shad fishery can be pursued.
D. The restrictions in this proclamation apply to gill nets used by Recreational Commercial Gear License holders as well as Standard and Retired Commercial Fishing Licenses holders.
E. Proclamation FF-7-2013, dated February 5, 2013 prohibits the setting of gill nets in the joint fishing waters of the state frommidnight on Friday to midnight on Sunday each week. Portions of Albemarle and Currituck sounds are exempt from that provision.
F. N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03I .0113 specifies that it is unlawful for any licensee under Chapter 113, Subchapter IV of the General Statutes to refuse to allow the Fisheries Director or his agents to obtain biological data, harvest information, or other statistical data necessary or useful to the conservation and management of marine and estuarine resources from fish in the licensee’s possession. The Division of Marine Fisheries has implemented an observer program as an inspection procedure to obtain such data.
G. The small mesh gill net attendance requirements in N.C. Marine Commission Fisheries Rule 15A NCAC 03J .0103 (g) and (h), size restrictions in 03J .0103(a)(2), the navigational passage requirements in 03J .0101, as well as all other existing gill net rules and proclamations remain in effect.
H. Proclamation M-1-2014, dated January 16, 2014 prohibits the use of gill nets with a stretched mesh length more than 6 ½ inches.
I. For gill net restrictions in the Albemarle Sound Management Area please refer to the most recent M-type proclamations for that area.
J. This proclamation supersedes Proclamation M-41-2013, dated December 10, 2013.
February 16, 2014