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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Proclamation M-11-2016

Marine Fisheries

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II. BLUE CRAB HARVEST RESTRICTIONS

Effective at 12:01 A.M., Monday, June 6, 2016:

A. It is unlawful to possess more than five percent by number the following hard blue crabs in any combination in any container:
1. Male hard blue crabs less than five inches from tip of spike to tip of spike;
2. Immature female hard blue crabs; and
3. Mature female hard blue crabs with a dark (brown and black) sponge from April 1 through April 30. A mature female hard blue crab with a dark sponge is defined as a mature female hard crab which has extruded her eggs on the abdomen or abdominal flap and the eggs have developed a coloration ranging from any shade of brown through black.
B. It is unlawful to fail to immediately return hard blue crabs not meeting the restriction described in Section II. A. to the waters from which they were taken.

C. It is unlawful to possess blue crabs described in Section II. A. (1) and (2) unless individual crabs are sorted and placed into separate containers for each of the following categories:
1. Soft crabs;
2. Pink and red-line peeler crabs;
3. White line peeler crabs; and
4. From March 1 through October 31, male crabs to be used as peeler crab bait.
D. All blue crabs not sorted into containers as specified in Section II. C. shall be deemed hard blue crabs for the purpose of establishing the five percent culling tolerance described in Section II. A.

E. It is unlawful to take blue crabs with dredges except incidental to lawful oyster dredging operations provided the weight of the crabs shall not exceed:
1. 50 percent of the total weight of the combined oyster and crab catch; or
2. 500 pounds, whichever is less.

III. CRAB POT ESCAPE RING REQUIREMENTS

Effective at 12:01 A.M., Sunday, January 15, 2017, it is unlawful to use crab pots in Coastal Fishing Waters unless:

A. Each pot contains no less than three unobstructed escape rings that are at least two and five-sixteenths inches inside diameter and:
1. For pots with a divider:
a. Two escape rings are located on opposite outside panels of the upper chamber of the pot; and
b. At least one escape ring is located within one full mesh of the corner and one full mesh of the bottom of the divider in the upper chamber of the pot.
c. A divider is defined as a panel that separates the crab pot into upper and lower sections.
2. For pots without a divider:
a. Two escape rings are located on opposite outside panels of the pot; and
b. At least one escape ring is located within one full mesh of the corner and one full mesh of the bottom of the pot.
B. The following crab pots are exempt from the escape ring requirements in Section III. A.:
1. Unbaited pots;
2. Pots baited with a male crab; and
3. Pots set in areas and during time periods described in North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03R .0118.
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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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