RE: GILL NETS – ATLANTIC OCEAN
Louis B. Daniel III, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at 12:01 A.M., Monday, December 16, 2013 the following provisions shall apply to the use of commercial large mesh gill nets in the Atlantic Ocean:
I. AREA DESCRIPTION:
The Atlantic Ocean
II. COMMERCIAL NET AND SEASON CLOSURE RESTRICTIONS:
It is unlawful to use gill nets greater than seven (7) inches stretched mesh in the Atlantic Ocean from December 16, 2013 through April 14, 2014 with the following exceptions:
A. During seasons established by proclamation for the harvest of striped bass from the Atlantic Ocean with gill nets.
B. During seasons established by proclamation for the harvest of monkfish from the Atlantic Ocean with gill nets in a one mile wide area extending from two miles seaward of the coastline to three miles seaward of the coastline from the North Carolina/Virginia state line southward to Wimble Shoal (Latitude 35° 30’N).
C. Large mesh gill nets set under the exceptions listed above shall be fished at least once every 48 hours, weather permitting.
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 Commission Rules 15A NCAC 03H .0103 and 03J .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. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03H .0103.
C. Seasons and areas opened under the exemptions in II. A. and II. B. above may be closed or modified by proclamation if reliable Sea Surface Temperature data indicates that water temperatures are greater than 11° C or when interactions occur between large mesh gill nets and marine mammals or sea turtles.
D. The intent of this proclamation is to allow traditional large mesh gill net fisheries for striped bass and monkfish to be pursued in state waters while reducing the threat of interactions between this gear and bottlenose dolphins and other marine mammals and sea turtles. The Atlantic Ocean is closed to the use of gill nets greater than seven (7) inches from April 15 through December 15 by N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03J .0202 (7).
E. The NMFS Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan prohibits the use of gill nets, greater than or equal to 7 inch stretched mesh, at night from December 16 through April 14, unless tie downs are used from the NC/VA border (36° 33’ N) to Cape Lookout (34° 35.4’N). Tie-downs shall be spaced not more than 15 feet apart along the float line, not more than 48 inches in length from the point where it connects to the float line to the point where it connects to the lead line. Night is any time one hour after sunset and one hour prior to sunrise.
F. This proclamation supersedes Proclamation M-40-2011, dated December 20, 2011.
December 10, 2013