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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Proclamation SF-10-2017

Marine Fisheries

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SF-10-2017

PROCLAMATION

RE: 2017-2018 OYSTER DREDGING RESTRICTIONS – CLOSURE OF AREAS IN PAMLICO SOUND OFF NORTHERN DARE COUNTY, SOUTHWESTERN PAMLICO SOUND, PAMLICO AND PUNGO RIVERS AND THEIR TRIBUTARIES, AND CONTINUES THE CLOSURE OF THE NEUSE RIVER AND ITS TRIBUTARIES.


This proclamation supersedes proclamation SF-9-2017 dated December 6, 2017 and closes areas in Pamlico Sound off northern Dare County, southwestern Pamlico Sound, Pamlico and Pungo rivers and their tributaries, and continues the closure of the Neuse River and its tributaries. This proclamation also continues the opening of the bays in the remainder of the areas open in Pamlico Sound for the rest of the six-week period unless closed sooner by proclamation to the commercial harvest of oysters by mechanical methods from public bottom in accordance with the N.C. Oyster Fishery Management Plan Amendment 4.

Braxton C. Davis, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at sunrise, Monday, December 25, 2017 mechanical harvest of oysters shall be allowed and the following restrictions will apply:

I. MECHANICAL HARVEST RESTRICTIONS:

A. Oysters may be taken by mechanical methods (See General Information Section VII. E., G. and I. for other gear restrictions).

B. It is unlawful to transfer oysters from the catching vessel to any other vessel during oyster harvesting operations or to transport oysters by any vessel other than the vessel in which they are harvested.

C. It is unlawful to possess more than five (5) 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 oyster harvest.

II. HARVEST DAYS AND TIME PERIOD
Mechanical oyster harvest will be allowed Monday through Friday from sunrise until 2:00 P.M. each day. Oyster dredges must be out of the water and stowed on deck after 2:00 P.M. each weekday (See General Information Section VII. C. and F.).

III. QUANTITY
It is unlawful for persons holding a Standard Commercial Fishing License with a shellfish endorsement to take or possess no more than fifteen (15) bushels of oysters per fishing operation per day, regardless of the number of persons, license holders, or vessels involved except as specified in Section VI below. (See General Information Section VII. L.) The harvest vessel is a part of the fishing operation.

IV. MINIMUM SIZE LIMIT
It is unlawful to possess oysters less than three (3) inches shell length for oysters taken on public or private bottom. (See General Information Section VII. J.)

V. MECHANICAL HARVEST SEASON
The season for harvesting oysters by mechanical methods shall be monitored and changes in harvest areas may be implemented by proclamation at a later date.

VI. AREA RESTRICTIONS

A. It is unlawful for persons holding a Standard Commercial Fishing License with a shellfish endorsement to take or possess more than ten (10) bushels of oysters per fishing operation per day in the following areas regardless of the number of persons, license holders, or vessels involved (see General Information Section VII. E.). The harvest vessel is a part of the fishing operation.:
1. 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;
2. 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;
3. 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;
4. Cunning Harbor – north of a line beginning at 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.
B. It is unlawful to harvest oysters by mechanical methods in the southwestern Pamlico Sound and Neuse River and its tributaries – all waters southwest and west of a line beginning at a point 35° 13.2267’ N – 76° 29.5420’ W on Sow Island Point, running southeasterly to a point near Marker “BI” 35° 08.0158’ N - 76°17.5777’ W on the eastern end of Brant Island Shoal, running southwesterly to a point 35° 01.8982’ N - 76° 21.7135’ W on Point of Grass.

C. It is unlawful to harvest oysters by mechanical methods in the southwestern Pamlico Sound, and the Pamlico and Pungo rivers and their tributaries - all internal coastal fishing waters west and north of a line beginning at a point 35° 20.4741' N - 76° 13.2563' W on Juniper Bay Point; running southwesterly to a point 35° 19.9157’ N - 76° 14.1860’ W near Juniper Bay Approach Light 2; running southerly to a point 35° 17.5254’ W - 76° 13.8147’ W near Juniper Bay Approach Light 1; running southerly to a point 35° 14.0088’ N - 76° 13.4580’ W near Lower Middle Ground Light “LM”; running southwesterly to a point 35° 08.1583’ N - 76° 17.5777’ W near Marker “BI” on the eastern end of Brant Island Shoal; running northwesterly to a point 35° 13.2267’ N – 76° 29.5420’ W on Sow Island Point.

D. It is unlawful to harvest oysters by mechanical methods in Pamlico Sound off northern Dare County - all internal coastal fishing waters north of a line beginning at a point 35° 35.0000’ N - 75° 47.2160’ W on Long Shoal Point running east to a point 35° 35.0000’ N - 75° 27.9860’ W on Hatteras Island.
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N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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