Releases – April 26, 2018
The recreational cobia season begins May 1, and the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is reminding anglers that the regulations have changed.
The recreational cobia season will run May 1 to Dec. 31 with a minimum size limit of 36 inches fork length (tip of the snout to the fork in the tail) and a possession limit of one fish per person per day.
For private boats, from May 1 to May 31, the maximum limit will be one fish per person per day, not to exceed two fish per vessel per day, regardless of the number of anglers on board.
For private boats, from June 1 to Dec. 31, the maximum vessel limit will be one fish per vessel per day, regardless of the number of anglers on board.
For for-hire operations (charter boats, head boats, and guide boats), from May 1 to Dec. 31, the vessel limit will be four fish per vessel per day, or one fish per person per day if fewer than four people are on board.
Anglers must return all cobia not meeting the harvest requirements to the water in a manner that ensures the highest likelihood of survival.
For more information, contact Steve Poland, cobia species lead with the Division of Marine Fisheries, at (252) 808-8159 or Steve.Poland@ncdenr.gov.
Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation presents the 2018 Youth Fishing Derby on Saturday, June 9, from 9:00-11:00 am at the Bogue Inlet Pier. The event is free and open to kids ages 5-12.
Great prizes will be awarded in categories ranging from the First Fish Caught to the Largest Fish Caught. Rods and reels will not be provided, but bait will be provided (while supplies last) or bring your own.
Pre-registration is required (limited to 100 youth) and runs from May 7-June 7, 2018. To register, stop by the Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation Community Center, call (252) 354-6350, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOAA Fisheries requests comments on Amendment 43 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 43). The proposed actions would specify recreational and commercial annual catch limits for red snapper beginning in 2018.
Red snapper recreational and commercial seasons would open in South Atlantic federal waters for limited harvest in 2018. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved Amendment 43 after recent scientific information indicated an increase in the red snapper population since 2014. NOAA Fisheries determined the proposed limited harvest in 2018 is neither expected to result in overfishing, nor prevent continued rebuilding of the population.
The following is a summary of the proposed changes for red snapper:
(1) The total annual catch limit would be 42,510 fish.
(2) The recreational annual catch limit would be 29,656 fish.
(3) The recreational bag limit would be one red snapper per person per day. This applies to private and charterboat/headboat vessels (the captain and crew on for-hire vessels may retain the recreational bag limit).
(4) The commercial annual catch limit would be 124,815 pounds whole weight.
(5) The commercial trip limit would be 75 pounds gutted weight.
(6) There would be no minimum size limit for the recreational or commercial sectors.
(7) The opening and closing of the recreational sector would be specified before the recreational season begins and would be weekends only (Friday, Saturday, Sunday).
(8) The commercial sector would close when the commercial annual catch limit is projected to be met.
(9) Amendment 43 specifies that the commercial sector would open the 2nd Monday in July and the recreational sector would open the 2nd Friday in July. If the fishing seasons do not open exactly on these dates, they would open as close to these dates as possible.
(10) NOAA Fisheries will announce the opening dates, if the amendment is approved, in a future Fishery Bulletin.
The timing of the 2018 season is contingent on when the final rule for Amendment 43 is implemented, if approved.
The comment period begins on April 16, 2018, and comments are due by June 15, 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. Submit written comments to Frank Helies, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
Fiscal year 2019 commercial fishing and dealer licenses are now available for purchase or renewal at the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.
All commercial fishing and dealer licenses expire on June 30 each year, but fishermen can typically avoid waiting in line by renewing early.
Commercial fishing licenses are sold 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the following division offices: (1) Headquarters Office, 3441 Arendell St., Morehead City, (2) Pamlico District Office, Department of Environmental Quality’s Washington Regional Office, Washington Square Mall, Washington; (3) Northern District Office, 105-A Impact Blvd., Elizabeth City; (4) Southern District Office, Department of Environmental Quality’s Wilmington Regional Office, 127 Cardinal Dr., Wilmington; and (5) Manteo Field Office, 1021 Driftwood Dr., Manteo.
The division will accept payment by cash or check only. For FY 2019 commercial license and permit fees, go to http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/commercial-fishing-license-information and click on Commercial Fishing License and Permit Fees 2018-19.
Fishermen should bring photo identifications with them. The fisherman or person with power of attorney must be present to sign the certification form.
Dealers with clam or oyster categories must have a current FY 2019 shellfish certification to renew their license. Dealers should bring their shellfish certification with them for verification purposes.
Fishermen and dealers who received renewal packets may also renew their licenses by mail.
For more information, contact License Program Manager Brenda Clark at (252) 808-8030 or Brenda.Clark@ncdenr.gov.
NOAA Fisheries requests your comments on a proposed rule for Abbreviated Framework Amendment 1 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region, which addresses red grouper in the South Atlantic. This proposed rule would reduce the annual catch limits for South Atlantic red grouper in response to the results of the latest population assessment.
Comments are due by May 3, 2018.
The proposed rule would reduce the total and sector annual catch limits (ACLs) for red grouper. New ACLs (in pounds whole weight) are as follows:
Total ACL (current) is 780,000; Commercial ACL (current) is 343,200; and Recreational ACL (current) is 436,800.
2018 Total ACL is 139,000; 2018 Commercial ACL is 61,160; and 2018 Recreational ACL is 77,840.
2019 Total ACL is 150,000; 2019 Commercial ACL is 66,000; and 2019 Recreational ACL is 84,000.
2020 (until modified) Total ACL is 162,000; 2020 (until modified) Commercial ACL is 71,280; and 2020 (until modified) Recreational ACL is 90,720.
The comment period is open now through May 3, 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.
Submit written comments to Frank Helies, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries employee Jeff French was recently honored for his educational efforts and work regarding shellfish sanitation and seafood safety.
French, who works with the division’s Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section, received the Richard R. Dideriksen Award last week at the North Carolina Environmental Health Supervisor’s Association Spring Business Meeting.
The award, presented annually, recognizes a health professional of a local health department or district, or state agency of North Carolina who has made significant contributions in the design, development, and implementation of programs that enhance and improve the public health practice.
It is named for Richard R. Dideriksen, who through individual or group efforts, played an integral role in designing, developing, and delivering quality public health educational programs in North Carolina.
French has worked for the Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section since 1999, but for the past 17 years he has worked out of a basement office at his Reidsville home to provide extension, outreach, and facility inspection for portions of North Carolina west of Interstate 95.
“In addition to inspecting the certified shellfish dealers in that portion of the state, Jeff also is the go-to guy for seafood and shellfish issues for county health departments,” said Division of Marine Fisheries Director Steve Murphey.
French also collaborates with N.C. Sea Grant and N.C. State of Practice Committee to organize, facilitate, and teach the N.C. Seafood Quality and Safety Workshop. This school educates local restaurant and market inspectors on seafood handling and safety, which provides important safeguards for consumers. He works with county health departments by participating in Serve Safe training, HACCP training, and has served on numerous state committees and boards.