Releases – April 12, 2018
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has certified a new state record bluefin tuna.
Retired Army General Scott Chambers of Townsend, DE, reeled in the 877-pound fish on March 17 after fighting with the fish for 2.5 hours off Oregon Inlet. It measured 113 inches curved fork length (tracing the contour of the body from the tip of the nose to the fork in the tail) and had a girth of 79 inches.
He caught the fish trolling dead bait on 130 pound line test on a 130 Shimano rod and reel aboard the charter boat “A-Salt Weapon” fishing out of Pirates Cove Marina in Manteo.
Chambers’ fish broke the former state record bluefin tuna by 72 pounds. That fish was caught off Oregon Inlet, as well, in 2011. The world all-tackle record bluefin tuna was 1,496 pounds and was caught off Nova Scotia in 1979.
For more information, contact Carole Willis, with the North Carolina Saltwater Fishing Tournament, at (252) 808-8081 or email@example.com.
NOAA Fisheries requests comments on a For-Hire Reporting Amendment and proposed rule which, if implemented, would establish electronic reporting requirements for charter vessels with federal permits and would modify the reporting deadline for headboats. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved the For-Hire Reporting Amendment in an effort to improve data collection and fisheries management.
Comments are due by May 13, 2018.
The following is the summary of proposed changes:
(1) Charter vessels with a federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Atlantic Coastal Migratory Pelagics, Atlantic dolphin and wahoo, or South Atlantic snapper-grouper species would be required to report weekly using electronic reporting.
(2) Reports would be due by Tuesday following the end of each reporting week, which runs from Monday through Sunday, and would include information such as fishing dates, fishing location, depth fished, species kept and discarded, and charter fee.
(3) Reporting would be through NOAA Fisheries-approved hardware and software, which would be specified at a later date.
(4) Headboat vessels with a federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Atlantic Coastal Migratory Pelagics, Atlantic dolphin and wahoo, or South Atlantic snapper-grouper species would continue to submit reports to the Southeast Headboat Survey but would be required to submit electronic fishing reports by Tuesday following a reporting week, rather than by Sunday.
The comment period is open through May 13, 2018. You may submit comments by electronic submission or by postal mail. Comments sent by any other method (such as e-mail), to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries.
Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2017-0152.
Submit written comments to Karla Gore, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
NC DMF Director Steve Murphey issued a proclamation opening the recreational cobia fishery at 12:01 AM on May 1, 2018, and remaining open through December 31, 2018. The proclamation also set the minimum recreational size limit at 36 inches fork length, and a possession limit of one (1) cobia per person.
Private Vessel limits will be two (2) cobia per vessel per day, or one (1) cobia per person per day if there is only one (1) person on board, May 1-May 31, and reducing to one (1) cobia per vessel per day June 1-December 31.
For-Hire Vessel limits will allow charter boats to possess four (4) cobia per vessel per day, or one (1) cobia per person per day if there are fewer than four (4) persons on board.
It is unlawful to fail to return all cobia not meeting harvest requirements to the water in a manner that insures the highest likelihood of survival.
The Mid-Atlantic Management Council is soliciting applications from qualified individuals to serve on eight advisory panels. Advisory panels provide information and recommendations to the Council during the development of fishery management plans, amendments, specifications, and management measures. One of the chief responsibilities of advisory panels is the development of annual Fishery Performance Reports. These reports provide the Council and SSC with information about the factors that influenced fishing effort and catch within each fishery during the previous year.
Advisory panels are composed of individuals with diverse experience and interest in Mid-Atlantic fisheries. Members include commercial fishermen, recreational anglers, for-hire operators, dealers, scientists, environmentalists, and other members of the interested public. Most advisory panels meet 1-2 times per year. Members are compensated for travel and per diem expenses for all meetings. Individuals who are appointed to advisory panels serve for three-year terms. All current advisory panel members must reapply in order to be considered for reappointment.
The Council is accepting applications for the following advisory panels: (1) Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass; (2) Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish; (3) Surfclam and Ocean Quahog; (4) Tilefish; (5) Bluefish; (6) Ecosystem and Ocean Planning; (7) River Herring and Shad; and (8) Dogfish (jointly managed with New England Council).
Anyone interested in serving on an advisory panel may apply online or download an application at www.mafmc.org/forms/advisory-panel-application. Applications can also be obtained by calling the Council office at (877) 446-2362.
Completed applications must be received by Friday, April 20, 2018.
If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Mary Sabo at (302) 518-1143, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lionfish are native to coral reefs in the tropical waters of the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, but you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to see them. This is an invasive species that threatens the well-being of coral reefs and other marine ecosystems, including the commercially and recreationally important fishes that depend on them. NOAA and its partners are working hard to develop ways to prevent further spread and control existing populations.
Lionfish, which are native to the Indo-Pacific, were first detected along Florida coasts in the mid-1980s, but their populations have swelled dramatically in the past 15 years. Lionfish are popular with aquarists, so it is plausible that repeated escapes into the wild via aquarium releases are the cause for the invasion. Lionfish now inhabit reefs, wrecks, and other habitat types in the warm marine waters of the greater Atlantic.
Lionfish continue to expand at astonishing speeds and are harming native coral reef ecosystems in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean.
Adult lionfish are primarily fish-eaters and have very few predators outside of their home range. Researchers have discovered that a single lionfish residing on a coral reef can reduce recruitment of native reef fishes by 79 percent. Because lionfish feed on prey normally consumed by snappers, groupers, and other commercially important native species, their presence could negatively affect the well-being of valuable commercial and recreational fisheries.
As lionfish populations grow, they put additional stress on coral reefs already struggling from the effects of climate change, pollution, disease, overfishing, sedimentation, and other stressors that have led to the listing of seven coral species in the lionfish-infested area. For example, lionfish eat herbivores and herbivores eat algae from coral reefs. Without herbivores, algal growth goes unchecked, which can be detrimental to the health of coral reefs.
NOAA has created an Invasive Lionfish Web Portal—a clearinghouse for all things related to lionfish outreach and education, research, monitoring, and management. Interested parties will no longer need to browse through multiple web pages to find accurate information; it will be available in a centralized location.
Cooperation and communication among local, state, federal, and international partners is crucial for proper management of lionfish and other widespread invasive species. Accordingly, a National Invasive Lionfish Prevention and Management Plan was developed by members of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force—an intergovernmental organization co-chaired by NOAA.
NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries Program is working to finalize their own lionfish plan that will guide the management of this invasive species in the affected sanctuaries in the Gulf and southeastern United States. Together, these plans will guide the management of invasive lionfish and ensure that all are working toward common objectives.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has reopened the Shell Rock Landing boating access area located on Shell Rock Landing Road in Hubert.
The boating access area was closed in October to make renovations to alleviate parking issues. Now that renovations are complete, the site has 52 parking spaces for vehicles with trailers and 10 vehicle-only spaces, including three ADA-compliant spaces.
For more information on boating in North Carolina, including the locations of more than 200 free, publicly accessible boating access areas, visit the Commission’s online locater map at www.ncwildlife.org/Boating/WheretoBoat.aspx. For more information on fishing in North Carolina, including where to fish, visit the fishing page at www.ncwildlife.org/Fishing.aspx.
The 2018-2019 recreational fishing season for black sea bass in federal waters of the South Atlantic, south of 35°15.9′ N. latitude (Cape Hatteras, North Carolina), will start on April 1, 2018, and end at 12:01 a.m., local time, on April 1, 2019.
Estimates indicate recreational landings for the 2018-2019 fishing year will be below the 2018-2019 recreational catch limit. Therefore, black sea bass will be open for the entire 2018-2019 recreational fishing year.
This announcement is in compliance with the final rule for Regulatory Amendment 14 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region, which published on November 7, 2014 (79 FR 66316).
NOAA Fisheries projects that the 2018-2019 recreational catch limit of 1,001,177 pounds whole weight will not be met as recreational landings in the past three fishing years were substantially below this value.