Fisheries service sets new restrictions on fishing near artificial reefs

Points on this map indicate the locations of artificial reefs off the Carteret County coast. (National Marine Fisheries Service graphic)

SILVER SPRING, Md.  — Recreational and commercial fishermen will have new gear and harvest limits starting in May at artificial reef sites off the coast of North Carolina.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service announced Friday Regulatory Amendment 34 to the South Atlantic region’s snapper-grouper fishery management plan will go into effect Monday, May 3.

The amendment creates 30 special management zones around artificial reefs off of the state’s coast, including off the coast of Carteret County, as well as four off of South Carolina.

“The zones range in size from 0.041-1.01 square miles,” the fisheries service said in its announcement. “Harvest of snapper-grouper species will only be allowed with handline, rod-and-reel and spear in these zones. This action will prohibit the use of bandit reel, powerhead, pot and longline gear at these sites.”

In the special management zones off North Carolina, harvest of snapper-grouper species by spear will be limited to the applicable recreational bag limit.

Maps and coordinates of the proposed special management zones can be found online at

(3) comments

David Collins

And who or whom will enforce these regulations ? Just a bunch of guys with nothing else to do coming up with more BS to make our lives more pleasant . Ha , ha , ha !


"with nothing else to do", besides dedicating their professional lives to studying fisheries management and stock health, and sorting out how to ensure that today's fishermen can catch while their kids can too.

Left unregulated, many fisheries would collapse. Our kids deserve better than that.

A lot of the best research out there in the field is not just PhDs in marine biology and fisheries science, but they include economists to map out the impacts of regulatory changes to fishing towns and economies. It's all a balance.


Reefs are not good things. Will these "zones" be well marked with aids to navigation and identified in the Notice to Mariners? Has NC Coastal Federation signed off? Has any elected official approved?

Welcome to the discussion.

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