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RALEIGH, N.C. (March 15,) - The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reminds fishermen to observe regulations on river herring when fishing coastal rivers this season. The daily creel limit for alewife and blueback herring, collectively known as river herring, is 25 fish larger than 6 inches. This regulation applies only to inland waters of coastal rivers up to the first impoundment dam on the main course of the rivers.

In joint waters and coastal waters, managed by the Division of Marine Fisheries, recreational fishermen are limited to 12 river herring per day of any size. The recreational river herring season in joint and coastal waters runs from Feb. 5 to April 14, unless otherwise extended by the the Division of Marine Fisheries.

As the two agencies make rule changes to help restore herring populations, it is important that fishermen be aware of size and season differences in both inland and joint waters.

The river herring regulations in inland fishing waters allowing 25 fish greater than 6 inches in length are effective until June 30. But beginning July 1, a moratorium on possessing river herring larger than 6 inches long will go into effect in all inland fishing waters of coastal rivers and their tributaries.

Adult herring on their spring spawning migrations are typically longer than 6 inches. Small herring shorter than 6 inches and used as bait are usually caught with cast nets in reservoirs above dams. The moratorium on herring larger than 6 inches, approved by the Commission on March 1, will allow fishermen to continue fishing for striped bass using small lake herring as bait, without affecting migrating stocks of river herring.

"The intent of the moratorium is to protect migrating herring during their spawning runs," said Bob Curry, chief of the Division of Inland Fisheries. "We are hopeful that over time herring populations in our coastal rivers will begin to rebuild."

For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, visit the Commission's Web site, www.ncwildlife.org, or call the Division of Inland Fisheries, (919) 707-0220. For more information on fishing in coastal and joint waters, visit the Division of Marine Fisheries Web site, www.ncfisheries.net.
 
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