VII. GENERAL INFORMATION:
A. This proclamation is issued under the authority 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 03K .0201 and .0202.
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. N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03K .0206 requires a permit for the use of mechanical gear on private bottoms. Permits are available, at no cost, from all Division of Marine Fisheries License Offices.
D. It is unlawful to possess or sell oysters without a harvest tag affixed to each container in accordance with N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03K .0101 (d).
E. N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03K .0204 lists areas closed to the use of mechanical methods to take oysters; 15A NCAC 03N .0104 prohibits the use of mechanical methods to take oysters or clams in primary nursery areas.
F. N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03K .0209 prohibits the taking of oysters and clams and the use of mechanical methods for oystering or clamming in oyster sanctuaries designated in Marine Fisheries Rule 15A NCAC 03R .0117.
G. N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03K .0106(a) prohibits the taking of oysters between the hours of sunset and sunrise on any day.
H. N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03J .0303 prohibits the use of dredges weighing more than 100 pounds except in the Atlantic Ocean; prohibits the use of more than one dredge per vessel to take oysters or crabs; and prohibits possession of oysters aboard a vessel with a dredge weighing more than 100 pounds.
I. N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03I .0101(14) defines mechanical methods for oystering.
J. N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03K .0207 exempts permitted aquaculture operations from bag and size limit restrictions.
K. Recent changes in N.C. General Statute 113-168.2 and 113-169.2 require mechanical harvesters to hold a Standard Commercial Fishing License with a shellfish endorsement. Crewmembers working under the direction of a person who holds a valid Standard Commercial Fishing License with a shellfish endorsement are not required to hold a shellfish license.
L. Maps are provided to aid in the identification of the specified harvest areas. Maps do NOT supersede existing rules or supersede proclamations closing areas to harvest by reason of pollution. The military restricted areas and danger zones shown on the proclamation maps are closed to civilian access pursuant to federal rules 33 CFR 334.410 and 334.420. These closures render these areas unavailable for oyster harvest.
M. This proclamation supersedes Proclamation SF-1-2014, dated February 25, 2014. It closes Pamlico and Pungo Rivers, Southwestern Pamlico Sound and tributaries to mechanical harvesting according to management measures adopted in Supplement A to Amendment 3 of the N.C. Oyster Fishery Management Plan. Hand harvest of oysters will remain open in non-polluted waters in these areas according to the established harvest limits.
March 21, 2014