VII. GENERAL INFORMATION:
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, 3I .0107, 03I .0113, 03J .0103 and 03R .0201.
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 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.
D. The intent of this proclamation is to implement management measures in the fall gill net fisheries in southeastern Pamlico Sound in compliance with NMFS Incidental Take Permit No. 16230 that are expected to reduce interactions with threatened and endangered sea turtles from September 30 through November 30, 2013. The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will not issue gill net permits this year, but they can be expected in the future. These actions are expected to provide increased levels of protection for threatened and endangered sea turtles in Pamlico Sound gill net fisheries. The harvest period will end prior to November 30 if the number of sea turtle interactions exceeds allowable levels.
E. “Attendance” is defined in N.C. Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03I .0101 (2) (b).
F. 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.
G. 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.
H. From one hour before sunset on September 30, 2013 through November 30, 2013, attendance is required for commercial fishing operations using small mesh gill nets, as referenced in N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 03J .0103 (h).
I. Proclamation M-5-2013, dated February 21, 2013 prohibits the use of gill nets with a stretched mesh length more than 6 ½ inches.
J. This proclamation supplements, but does not supersede, the small mesh gill net yardage restriction of 800 yards and the attendance requirement established in Proclamation M-15-2013 dated May 13, 2013, for the areas described in N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 03R .0201(a).
K. Fishermen must contact the NCDMF Marine Patrol at 800-682-2632 if a sea turtle is incidentally captured, regardless of its status (active and uninjured, injured, lethargic or dead).
September 26, 2013