RE: 2012-2013 OYSTER RESTRICTIONS
Dr. Louis B. Daniel III, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at sunrise, Monday, February 11, 2013, the following changes in restrictions will apply to the area open to the mechanical harvest of oysters:
I. MEANS AND METHODS
MECHANICAL HARVEST RESTRICTIONS:
A. Oysters may be taken by mechanical methods (See General Information Section VII. E., G. and H. for other gear restrictions).
B. Oysters may not be transferred from the catching vessel to any other vessel during oyster harvesting operations or be transported by any vessel other than the vessel in which they are harvested.
C. It is unlawful to possess more than five bushels of unculled catch onboard a vessel. Only material on the culling tray is exempt from culling restrictions.
D. It is unlawful to possess unculled catch or culled catch material while underway and not engaged in mechanical harvesting.
E. It is unlawful for the catch container (bag, cage) attached to a dredge to extend more than two feet in any direction from the tooth bar.
F. It is unlawful to tow a dredge unless the point where the tow line or cable exits the vessel and goes directly into the water is on the port or starboard side of the vessel forward of the transom.
G. It is unlawful to possess a dredge while engaged in oyster harvesting activities in an area closed to the use of mechanical methods for oystering.
II. HARVEST DAYS AND TIME PERIOD
A. Mechanical oyster harvest will be allowed Monday through Friday from sunrise until 2:00 p.m. each day. (See General Information Section VII. C. and F.). Oyster dredges must be out of the water and stowed on deck after 2:00 P.M. each weekday.
B. All oysters must be unloaded by sunset in accordance with N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03K .0106.
Properly licensed persons may take or possess no more than fifteen (15) bushels of oysters per fishing operation per day, regardless of the number of persons or vessels involved except as specified in Section VI. below. (See General Information Section VII. I.)
IV. MINIMUM SIZE LIMIT
The size limit will be three (3) inches shell length for oysters taken on public or private grounds. (See General Information Section VII. I.)
V. MECHANICAL HARVEST SEASON
The season for harvesting oysters by mechanical methods shall be monitored and changes in harvest areas or season length may be implemented by proclamation at a later date.
VI. AREA RESTRICTIONS
It is unlawful to harvest oysters by mechanical methods in the following areas:
A. Wysocking Bay - northwest of a line beginning at a point 35° 22.9684' N 76° 03.7129' W on Benson Point, running northeasterly to a point 35° 24.6895' N 76° 01.3155' W on Long Point;
B. East Bluff Bay – northwest of a line beginning at a point 35° 19.5333’ N - 76° 09.3333’ W on Bluff Point; running northeasterly to a point 35° 21.2784’ N - 76° 06. 7572’ W on North Bluff Point;
C. West Bluff Bay – north of a line beginning at a point 35° 20.3413’ N - 76° 12.3378’ W on the east shore of Cunning Harbor; running easterly to a point 35° 19.5333’ N - 76° 09.3333’ W on Bluff Point;
D. Cunning Harbor – north of a line beginning at a point 35° 20.4372’ N - 76° 13.2697' W on the west shore of Cunning Harbor; running easterly to a point 35° 20.3413' N 76° 12.3378' W on the east shore of Cunning Harbor;
E. Juniper Bay – north of a line beginning at a point 35° 20.6217' N 76° 15.5447' W on the west shore of Juniper Bay, running easterly to a point 35° 20.4372' N - 76° 13.2697' W; running easterly to a point 35° 20.3413' N 76° 12.3378' W on the east shore of Cunning Harbor;