Releases – May 23, 2019
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s South Atlantic State/Federal Fisheries Management Board approved Draft Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Migratory Group Cobia (Atlantic cobia) for public comment. Atlantic coastal states from Virginia through South Carolina have scheduled their hearings to gather public input on Draft Amendment 1.
Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on Draft Amendment 1 either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment.
Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on July 15, 2019, and should be sent to Dr. Michael Schmidtke, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at email@example.com (Subject line: Cobia Amd 1).
A public hearing in North Carolina is scheduled as follows: North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, June 13, 2019; 7:00 PM, Dare County Commissioners Office, 954 Marshall Collins Drive, Room 168, Manteo, NC. For more information, contact Chris Batsavage at (252) 808.8009.
A Webinar Hearing is scheduled for June 18, 2019; 6:00 PM, Webinar Registration: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3902998396468814081. For more information, contact Dr. Michael Schmidtke at (703) 842.0740.
Draft Amendment 1 presents options for addressing 13 issues within the FMP, including additions to the management goals and objectives, establishment of processes to define biological reference points and specify harvest, changes to commercial monitoring of landings, clarification of the process for evaluating recreational harvests against state harvest targets, potential changes to commercial fishery management measures, establishment of de minimis criteria for the commercial fishery, and recommended management measures for federal waters.
For some of these issues, multiple options are presented, while for others, only one option is presented. Public input is requested for all issues included in Draft Amendment 1.
Draft Amendment 1 is available via the Commission’s website, www.asmfc.org, under Public Input.
Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, Cape Hatteras National Seashore will open a new beach access and parking area on Friday, May 24.
The Buxton Beach Access will open May 24 at the end of Old Lighthouse Road.
The site at the end of Old Lighthouse Road, which previously served as a U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard base, will provide improved public access to oceanside recreational activities, National Park Service officials announced.
At the access, a 50-car parking area, portable restrooms, and a non-slip wheelchair beach access mat will be available.
Plans for a permanent restroom facility with showers and other site upgrades are currently under development.
Visitors planning a trip to the new Buxton Beach Access should be aware that travel through a residential area is necessary to reach the site and should pay close attention to pedestrians on Old Lighthouse Road and the speed limit signs.
In November 2013, the park service issued a Finding of No Significant Impact for a Proposal to Construct New Development That Facilitates Public Access at the Seashore. The new Buxton Beach Access and Kite Point parking area were included in the 29 projects that were approved as part of the plan.
This story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.
In response to a stark increase in boating-related fatalities in 2018, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission urges all North Carolinians to practice safe habits while on the water this summer. A total of 35 people lost their lives due to boating accidents last year, the highest number of vessel-related fatalities since 1990. Twenty-nine of the victims were not wearing a life vest.
“Life jackets should be put on before you enter the boat,” said Maj. Ben Meyer. “Accidents happen fast and there may not be time, even for the strongest swimmers, to put one on in the event of an emergency. Wearing a life jacket can mean the difference between a tragedy and a fun day on the water.”
It is important to wear a Coast Guard-approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or life jacket at all times when boating or on a personal watercraft. A properly fitted life jacket is snug, yet comfortable, and will not move above the chin or ears when lifted at the shoulders. More information on life jacket safety can be found at ncwildlife.org/preserveyourlife.
With warmer weather on the horizon and boating season ramping up, the Commission offers these tips to help boaters remain safe on the water:
- Appoint a designated driver for the boat. Driving a boat under the influence of alcohol is illegal. Alcohol makes it difficult to drive safely, see objects in the water, and ensure the safety of those on board.
- Assign an adult “Water Watcher” to actively supervise the children in or around the water at all times. A Water Watcher’s role is to focus on watching the water without the distractions of activities, such as socializing, texting, fishing, drinking, and reading. Young children and people who are not strong swimmers should always be kept within arm’s reach.
- Only swim in designated swimming areas. Swimming in open water can lead to increased risk as you are less visible to boaters. Avoid diving in areas that are unfamiliar as there may be hidden boulders, stumps, and pilings.
- Throw, don’t go. Be prepared to throw a floatation device or use a pole or tree branch to reach someone struggling in the water. Never jump in to save someone, because you could be pulled under, too.
- Attend a Boater Safety Course. Any person born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, must complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators-approved boating education course before operating a vessel propelled by a motor of 10 horsepower or greater. A variety of options, including in-class and online, are available.
Following these safety tips can help ensure that you and your friends and family remain safe on the water this summer.
In observance of National Small Business Week, Duke Energy spotlighted small businesses in its service area that are dedicated to giving back. Family-owned and operated boat dealership and service center Starling Marine, located in Morehead City, has been recognized for sharing Duke Energy’s commitment to community service and charitable giving.
Starling Marine’s recovery efforts and community outreach immediately following the devastating impact from Hurricane Florence in September of 2018 helped them secure this recognition from Duke Energy.
Starling Marine has sponsored fishing tournaments to raise money for families in need and even provided a boat for a raffle to raise money for the Do It For Drew Foundation, a local non-profit dedicated to the awareness and prevention of deaths caused by medical errors.
Last year, Team Starling moved into high gear after Hurricane Florence did extensive damage to the area. Starling Marine’s showroom became a makeshift command center in the storm’s aftermath, despite having part of the roof blown off. “Our roof was leaking,” Holly Starling said, “but we worked around it.”
Word soon spread that people could call the Starlings for help. Entire families–well over 100 people–came to the business to offer assistance. As calls for help came in, volunteer crews were dispatched to tarp roofs, cut down trees that had fallen on roofs or were blocking driveways, clean up debris, and more. They helped locate temporary housing for people whose houses were uninhabitable. They even siphoned gas from their boats to supply fuel to people in need.
One of Starling Marine’s boat manufacturers—Edenton, North Carolina-based Regulator Marine—donated $10,000 to Carteret Warriors for Recovery to buy mattresses. Holly Starling is a board member of this non-profit started after the storm. The all-female volunteer group has assisted more than 450 families.
“Our business became like a church,” Holly Starling said. “It turned into a community gathering spot for families to volunteer, have fellowship, and support each other.”
“We are incredibly honored to be recognized by Duke Energy for our continuing community outreach efforts,” David Starling exclaims. May is Duke Energy In Action month when the company emphasizes community service and encourages employees to volunteer in their communities. During the small business week, Duke Energy employees are volunteering side by side with employees from the nominated small businesses like Starling Marine.
“It was a pleasure to work alongside Duke team members to continue support and relief efforts for our area,” Starling concludes.