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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

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Marine Fisheries - Proclamation M-15-2016

Marine Fisheries

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M-15-2016

PROCLAMATION

RE: GILL NETS – ALBEMARLE SOUND AREA – MANAGEMENT UNIT A – OPENS LARGE MESH

Braxton C. Davis, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at 4:00 P.M., Monday, September 5, 2016, the following provisions shall apply to the use of gill nets in the following areas:

I. MANAGEMENT UNIT A DESCRIPTION AND SPECIFIC AREA RESTRICTIONS (Map 1)
Management Unit A: encompasses all Internal Coastal Waters bound on the south by 35° 46.3000’ N latitude to the North Carolina/Virginia state line. This includes Albemarle, Currituck, Croatan and Roanoke sounds and their tributaries.

A. It is unlawful to use ANY gill nets (including those described in Section IV.) in the area southwest of a line from Black Walnut Point 35° 59.3833’ N - 76° 41.0060’ W; running southeasterly to a point 35° 56.3333’ N - 76° 36.0333’ W at the mouth of Mackey’s Creek, including Roanoke, Cashie, Middle and Eastmost Rivers.

B. It is unlawful to use gill nets (except as described in Section IV.) in the Albemarle Sound east of line beginning at a point 35° 58.8800’ N - 76º 24.1800’ W at Laurel Point running northerly to a point 36° 05.9669' N - 76° 18.1791' W at Harvey Point; including the Croatan and Roanoke Sounds bounded to the north by a line beginning at a point 36º 04.8280’ N - 75º 47.4050’ W on the western end of the Highway 158 Wright Memorial Bridge; then running easterly along the south side of the bridge to a point 36º 05.5770’ N - 75º 44.5850’ W on the eastern end of the bridge; and bounded to the south by 35º 46.3000’ N latitude.

C. The following Joint Waters of the Perquimans, Little, Pasquotank, North, and Alligator rivers are OPEN to the use of gill nets as described in Sections II, III, and IV:
Perquimans River: Joint Waters west of a line beginning at a point on the west shore 36° 05.9669' N - 76° 18.1791' W; running northeasterly to a point on the east shore 36° 06.7655' N - 76° 16.5953' W.
Little River: Joint Waters west of a line beginning at a point on the north shore 36° 07.5322' N - 76° 10.6901' W; running southwesterly to a point on the south shore 36° 06.4199' N - 76° 11.6047' W.
Pasquotank River: Joint Waters west of a line beginning at a point on the north shore 36° 15.0519' N - 76° 05.2793' W; running westerly to a point on the south shore at 36° 13.0286' N - 76° 08.1820' W.
North River: Joint Waters north of a line beginning at a point on the west shore 36° 09.8986' N - 75° 54.6771' W; running easterly to a point on the east shore 36° 10.0108' N - 75° 52.0431' W.
Alligator River: Joint Waters south of a line running along the north side of the Highway 64 Bridge beginning at a point on the west shore 35° 54.2903' N - 76° 01.6818' W; running easterly to a point on the east shore 35° 53.6835' N - 75° 58.8578' W.

II. GILL NET ATTENDANCE, MESH AND CONFIGURATION RESTRICTIONS
A fishing operation, regardless of the number of vessels or persons involved, shall adhere to the gill net restrictions specified:

A. It is unlawful to use gill nets with a stretched mesh length less than 3 inches.

B. It is unlawful to use gill nets with a stretched mesh length greater than 3 ¾ inches and less than 5 ½ inches.

C. It is unlawful to use unattended gill nets with a stretched mesh length of 3 inches through 3 ¾ inches.

D. It is unlawful to use gill nets with a stretched mesh length greater than 6 ½ inches.

E. It is unlawful to fail to actively fish gill net sets with a stretched mesh length of 5 ½ inches through 6 ½ inches at least once during a 24 hour period no later than noon each day.

F. It is unlawful to use gill nets with a stretched mesh length of 5 ½ inches through 6 ½ inches unless the nets are:
1. Equipped with tie downs spaced no farther apart than 10 yards, restricting the vertical distance between the top and bottom lines to 48 inches or less; or
2. Equipped with floats that do not exceed 2 inches in diameter and 6 inches in length placed a minimum of 10 yards apart, not to exceed 11 floats per 100 yards of net; and
3. Set so as to fish the bottom and not to exceed a vertical height of 48 inches.

III. GILL NET YARDAGE RESTRICTIONS
A fishing operation, regardless of the number of vessels or persons involved, shall adhere to the gill net yardage restrictions specified:

A. It is unlawful to use more than 800 yards of gill net with a stretched mesh length of 3 inches through 4 inches in any combination per commercial fishing operation.

B. It is unlawful to use more than 2,000 yards of gill net with a stretched mesh length of 5 ½ inches through 6 ½ inches per commercial fishing operation.

IV. GEAR EXEMPTIONS AND RESTRICTIONS FOR ATTENDED, RUN-AROUND, STRIKE, DROP, AND DRIFT GILL NETS

A. Exempted gear definitions:
1. Runaround, strike, or drop gill nets - gill nets that are set and then are immediately retrieved.
2. Drift gill nets - gill nets that are used to capture fish while being moved along by water currents and the net being actively fished and attended from deployment through retrieval.
B. It is unlawful to use drift gill nets in the Joint Fishing Waters portion of the Roanoke, Middle, Eastmost, Cashie, Chowan and Meherrin rivers and all other joint water tributaries of the Albemarle Sound Management Area as defined in N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15 NCAC 03R. 0201.

C. It is unlawful to use run-around, strike, drift and drop gill nets with a stretched mesh length less than 3 inches and greater than 4 inches.

D. It is unlawful to use or possess more than 800 yards of run-around, strike, drift and drop gill net per commercial fishing operation

V. GENERAL INFORMATION

A. This proclamation is issued under the authority of N.C.G.S. 113-182; 113-221.1; and N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rules 15A NCAC 03J .0103.

B. It is unlawful to violate 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. The restrictions in this proclamation apply to gill nets used by Recreational Commercial Gear License holders except the allowed yardage in Section III and IV. The allowed yardage for Recreational Commercial Gear License holders is described in N.C. Marine Fisheries Rule 15A NCAC .03O .0302 as well as Standard and Retired Commercial Fishing Licenses holders.

D. Proclamation M-3-2014, dated February 3, 2014 prohibits the setting of gill nets in the Joint Fishing Waters of the state from midnight on Friday to midnight on Sunday each week. Portions of Albemarle and Currituck sounds are exempt from that provision.

E. 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.

F. The Division of Marine Fisheries has received Federal Incidental Take (ITP) permits for certain threatened or endangered sea turtles, and endangered Atlantic sturgeon. These ITPs allow legal continuation of the inshore gill net fisheries in North Carolina, subject to permit conditions. The ITP conditions are designed to avoid, minimize and mitigate interactions with these species. Permit conditions require the division to provide 7-10 percent observer coverage in the large mesh anchored gill net fishery and 1-2 percent observer coverage in the small mesh anchored gill net fishery in internal coastal waters. If the required coverage is not maintained, large and small mesh anchored gill nets could be prohibited in all Internal Coastal Waters statewide.

G. The intent of this proclamation is to manage allowable gill nets in Management Unit A while minimizing interactions with threatened and/or endangered species.

H. Proclamation M-24-2014, dated July 31, 2014 requires holders of a Standard Commercial Fishing License (SCFL), Retired Standard Commercial Fishing License (RSCFL), or Recreational Commercial Gear License (RCGL) who deploy gill nets in Internal Coastal Waters with the exception of run around, strike, drop or drift gill nets, to possess a valid Estuarine Gill Net Permit issued by the Division of Marine Fisheries.

I. In accordance with FF-3-2016 it is unlawful to possess flounder in Internal Coastal Waters taken from anchored large mesh gill nets with a stretched mesh length less than 6 inches. In accordance with FF-4-2016 it is unlawful for Recreational Commercial Gear License holders to possess flounder in anchored large mesh gill nets with a stretched mesh length less than 6 inches. These regulations are implemented in accordance with Supplement A to Amendment 1 of the N.C. Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan. See listed proclamations for full details.

J. In accordance with N.C. General Statute 113-221.1(c) all persons who may be affected by proclamations issued by the Fisheries Director are under a duty to keep themselves informed of current proclamations.

K. Contact N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 for more information or visit the division website at www.ncmarinefisheries.net

L. This proclamation supersedes Proclamation M-13-2016, dated June 6, 2016. It implements small mesh gill net attendance and opens the Currituck Sound and western Albemarle Sound and tributaries in Management Unit A to the use of gill nets with a stretched mesh size of 5 ½ through 6 ½ inches. It maintains a gill net closure for the eastern Albemarle Sound, Croatan and Roanoke Sounds except for gill nets described in Section IV. This action is being taken in order to allow directed gill net fisheries for flounder and to minimize interactions with threatened and/or endangered species.

September 1, 2016
1:40 P.M.
M-15-2016

 

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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