Fish Post

Releases – July 26, 2012

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The North Carolina Fishery Resource Grant Program recently noted six new project awards for 2012. North Carolina Sea Grant administers the FRG Program funded by the North Carolina General Assembly. The program often pairs members of the fishing community with researchers and graduate students to combine local knowledge with scientific data-gathering methods. FRG grant panels determine priorities based on public input.

The 2012 awards include several studies that will provide data for fisheries management, a value-added technology for seafood, and a method to improve land-based aquaculture.

Capt. Dale Britt of Morehead City and Jeff Buckel of North Carolina State University will study discard mortality of dolphin fish, also known as mahi-mahi. Previous studies indicated that length limits fail to produce sustainable fish populations if discard mortality rates exceed 20 percent. Britt and Buckel plan to catch dolphin fish by hook and line. Fish below the legal-size limit will be unhooked and transferred to a tank for observation. This project addresses a 2012 FRG priority to determine hook-and-release mortality for important recreational species.

Capt. Aaron Kelley from Kill Devil Hills and Roger Rulifson of East Carolina University plan a study that could have major implications for the management of the Atlantic migratory stock of striped bass. The team will use ear-bone chemistry to assess whether the fish from the Croatan and Roanoke sounds, Oregon Inlet and near-shore coastal environments likely came from resident or ocean-going mothers. Previous studies indicated that a small amount of offshore migration occurs. However, these studies occurred when the stock was altered due to low abundance.

Capt. Tom Roller of Beaufort, Rulifson of ECU and Philip Kemp of Carteret Community College will assess the diet of spiny dogfish. Spiny dogfish consume Atlantic menhaden in high numbers. The researchers will determine digestion rates of captive dogfish to allow for an accurate estimate of their daily ration. The data will be useful in stock assessments of other fish species by allowing an estimation of mortality due to spiny dogfish predation.

Capt. Jeff Wolfe of Wilmington, Amanda Southwood Williard of the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Wendy Cluse with the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores will look at the distribution of diamondback terrapins in Bogue Sound. The team will assess the impacts of bycatch-reduction devices on terrapin and crab catches. A recent report by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission recommends re-classifying the diamondback terrapin from a “species of concern” to “threatened.” Additional monitoring will help establish the terrapin’s conservation status.

Willy Phillips of Columbia will test the feasibility of smoked soft-shell crab as an additional market for North Carolina’s blue crab. He will collaborate with Barry Nash, seafood technologist and marketing specialist for North Carolina Sea Grant. Recently the demand and price for North Carolina soft-shelled crabs have been weak because major wholesalers are utilizing cheaper imported products. Optimization of flavor, storage and shipping will be conducted using consumer taste tests. A successful product would significantly enhance the current value of soft-shell crabs.

Robert Farnell of Hubert and Wade Watanabe of UNCW will optimize the treatment of waste discharge from land-based recirculating aquaculture systems. Presently the effluent from such systems requires significant treatment. The team will assess the salt marsh plant, Salicornia, for bioremediation of the waste. Some species of Salicornia produce seeds with levels of protein and oil similar to soybean. In the future, Salicornia may be useful for animal feed and biofuels.


The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is offering two surf fishing workshops in August. The first is Tuesday, August 7, 2012, at 8:00 a.m., and the second is Tuesday, August 14, 2012, at 8:00 a.m.

These 3-hour workshops include one hour of classroom discussion, then surf fishing on the beach nearby. All equipment and bait is provided. The program is rain or shine, with extra activities added in event of bad weather (e.g., throwing a cast net).

The workshop is for participants ages 10 and older. The fee is $15 per participant. Aquarium admission is not included, and pre-registration is required.

The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is located just south of Kure Beach, a short drive from Wilmington, on U.S. 421. The site is less than a mile from the Fort Fisher ferry terminal.

For more information or to register for a program, please call (910) 458.7468 or visit


Every fisherman, sailor, or powerboater has extra gear, tackle, or an extra boat he wants to sell. Or they are always looking for something new. Ol’ Barnacle’s Boatyard and Tackle Sale is the place to go to do either, or to just tell some yarns and fish stories.

Ol’ Barnacle’s Boatyard and Tackle Sale will be August 4, 2012, from 8:00-2:00. The sale will be located at the West Ridge Center (behind the Waffle House in Morehead City).

For more information about attending or being a vendor, contact Capt’n J. at (252) 259-5283 or

Part of the proceeds will go to local boating-related charities, and the event is sponsored by South Banks Church and West Ridge Center. Hot dogs, drinks, and world famous seafood fritter sandwiches will be available.

Mark your log and set your course for Ol’ Barnacles every month to join in the fun.


In an effort to work more efficiently, the state has reorganized several advisory committees of the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission. These new committees will meet in the coming weeks to give input on two issues the commission will discuss at its August meeting. These issues are potential management measures for gill nets due to the listing of Atlantic sturgeon as an endangered species and the creation of two new seed oyster management areas.

A new state law combines and condenses the Northeast, Central, Southeast, and Inland regional advisory committees into a Northern Regional Advisory Committee and a Southern Regional Advisory Committee. The new law also combines and condenses the Shellfish and Crustacean advisory committees into one Shellfish/Crustacean Advisory Committee.

The N.C. General Assembly passed the legislation at the recommendation of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. Gov. Bev Perdue signed the bill into law July 16. The recommendation stemmed from a 2010 law that directed the division to study ways to improve the fishery management plan process without impairing public input.

The new Northern Regional Advisory Committee encompasses areas from the Virginia line south through Hyde and Pamlico counties and any counties to the west. The new Southern Regional Advisory Committee encompasses areas from Carteret County south to the South Carolina line and any counties to the west. Marine Fisheries Commission Chairman Rob Bizzell pulled from the pool of members of the old committees to appoint members to the new committees today.

A membership list is on the division’s website at Each new committee is comprised of 11 members representing commercial and recreational fishing interests, as well as scientists.

The new Shellfish/Crustacean Committee will discuss a proposed amendment to the Oyster Fishery Management Plan to create seed oyster management areas at Possum Bay and Swan Point in the mouth of the New River.

The new regional advisory committees will discuss the proposed seed oyster management areas, as well as management options to reduce sea turtle and Atlantic sturgeon interactions in the estuarine gill net fishery.

The meetings will be held at the following dates, times and locations:

Northern Regional Advisory Committee, 6:00 p.m. on July 31, N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Office, 943 Washington Square Mall, Washington. Contact Kathy Rawls at (800) 338-7805 or (252) 264-3911 or

Southern Regional Advisory Committee, 6:00 p.m. on Aug. 1, N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Office, 127 Cardinal Drive, Wilmington. Contact Mike Marshall at (800) 682-2632 or (252) 808-8077 or

Shellfish/Crustacean Committee, 6:00 p.m. on Aug. 2, N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office, 5285 Highway 70 West, Morehead City. Contact Mike Marshall at (800) 682-2632 or (252) 808-8077 or

Previously announced meetings of the Finfish Advisory Committee and the Sea Turtle Advisory Committee remain as scheduled. These committees also will discuss potential sea turtle and sturgeon management measures. Those meetings are scheduled for:

Finfish Advisory Committee, 11:00 a.m. on July 25, N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Office, 943 Washington Square Mall, Washington. Contact David Taylor at (252) 808-8074 or

Sea Turtle Advisory Committee, 6:00 p.m. on July 26, N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office, 5285 Highway 70 West, Morehead City. Contact Chris Batsavage at (252) 808-8009 or