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MOREHEAD CITY – New gill net restrictions will soon go into effect for the Pamlico County bays and the Bay, Neuse and Pungo rivers.

Fishermen who use gill nets with greater than 5-inch mesh length will be required to equip them with 3-foot tie downs.

Also, nets with greater than 5-inch mesh length may not be set within 50 yards of the shore in upstream areas of the Neuse, Pamlico and Pungo rivers. Recreational gill nets are exempt from this regulation, if they attend their gill nets at all times.

The new regulations will be implemented by proclamation when the commercial striped bass season closes in these waters, likely around the first of April. Gill net fishermen should prepare for this change.

The restrictions are needed to reduce the bycatch of striped bass in large mesh gill nets in the Pamlico, Pungo, Bay and Neuse rivers in accordance with a N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan for the Central/Southern Management Area.

Once implemented, the regulations will stay in place through Dec. 31.

For more information, contact Katy West in the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Washington office at 1-800-338-7804 or at (252) 946-6481.
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