MOREHEAD CITY — Commercial and recreational fisherman have new rules to follow, as of May 1.
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries announced April 29 newly amended rules pertaining to special secondary nursery areas. The rules went into effect May 1. The rule changes, readopted by the Marine Fisheries Commission in February under a state-mandated periodic review schedule, reclassify nine special secondary nursery areas to secondary nursery areas, as recommended by the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Amendment 1.
The nine areas have not been opened to trawling since at least 2004, so there is no change to the shrimp trawl fishery.
The reclassification results in the following additional small mesh gill net attendance requirements applying in most of the newly designated secondary nursery areas:
- In Newport River, Cape Fear River, Lockwood Folly River and Saucepan Creek, attendance is now required in all waters from May 1 to Nov. 30.
- In Pungo Creek, Slade Creek, South Creek and Bond/Muddy creeks, the existing year-round attendance within 200 yards of shore still applies, with an additional attendance requirement in all waters from May 1 to Nov. 30.
- Scranton Creek has no change in its small mesh gill net attendance requirements from the reclassification.
Additional rules pertaining to shellfish growing waters, processing of crustacean meat and oyster sanctuaries were also readopted and went into effect May 1. These additional rules are as follows:
- Amend the oyster sanctuaries rule by adding five new sites (Long Shoal, Little Creek, Pea Island, Raccoon Island and Swan Island), updating boundaries for three existing sites (Neuse River, West Bluff and Gibbs Shoal) and remove two sites that no longer function as sanctuaries (Ocracoke and Clam Shoal).
- Update shellfish sanitation laboratory procedures, sanitary survey reporting requirements, standards for classifying shellfish waters and definitions to conform with current national standards.
- Correct grammar, typographical errors and update agency names.
For more on the changes, visit portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/rules-and-regulations. Until Saturday, existing MFC rules remain in effect.