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MOREHEAD CITY – Closing additional North Carolina inshore waters to trawling and establishing a recreational limit for shrimp harvest are among a list of actions proposed in the draft Shrimp Fishery Management Plan being discussed during a series of public meetings in July and August.
Since January 2004, an advisory group of commercial fishermen, recreational anglers and scientists, along with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, have been developing a fishery management plan for shrimp. Management plans are required for all of the state’s significant fisheries. These plans describe the nature and problems of a fishery, along with long-term regulatory recommendations to address any problems and ultimately conserve that fishery. Fishery management plans use all available scientific information that applies to the species and its fisheries.

Shrimp support a significant Tar Heel fishery, bringing in 4.8 million pounds to state docks, valued at $9.4 million in 2004. While the actual stock is viable, there is concern about the environmental impact of otter trawls, bycatch of other species, effect of imports and competition among user groups. The advisory group and the NCDMF were able to reach consensus on the majority of management recommendations in the plan.

Highlights of the proposed management changes include:

· Area and/or season closures in the Pungo, Pamlico, Neuse, and White Oak rivers, Masonboro Sound, bays and creeks near the mouth of the Cape Fear River, and waterways in Brunswick County;
· Two-year phase out of otter trawls in the upper New River, to be replaced with skimmer trawls;
· 90-foot headrope limit for otter trawls in internal waters, except the Atlantic Ocean, Pamlico Sound and portions of the Neuse, Pamlico and Pungo rivers;
· Allow skimmer trawls to be used by Recreational Commercial Gear License holders;
· Establish a 48-quart limit per day for Recreational Commercial Gear License holders;
· Define dimensions of a shrimp trap for use by Recreational Commercial Gear License holders; and
· Increase the minimum shrimp size at which some water bodies are opened to trawling to increase the value of the product.

All meetings begin at 6 p.m. at the following locations:
July 12
Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources' Regional Office
127 Cardinal Drive Ext.
Wilmington

July 18
Craven County Agricultural Extension Center
300 Industrial Drive
New Bern

###MORE###

DMF News Release
Page 2

July 20
Hyde/Davis Business Enterprise Center
33460 U.S. 264
Engelhard

July 21
One Festival Park
Manteo

July 26
Duke Marine Lab Auditorium
Pivers Island
Beaufort

July 27
Cooperative Extension Training Room
Building N, Boliva Government Complex
Boliva

August 2
Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources' Regional Office
943 Washington Square Mall
Washington

August 4
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Ground Floor Hearing Room, Archdale Building
Raleigh

Additional meetings will be scheduled at Sneads Ferry and Goldsboro

The Marine Fisheries Commission will vote on which proposals to include in the draft Shrimp Fishery Management Plan at its August 30-31 business meeting in Atlantic Beach.

Visit http://www.ncdmf.net/fmps/index.html to download a copy of the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. For more information about these meetings, please contact Jess Hawkins by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling 800-682-2632 or 252-726-7021.
 
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