The state Division of Marine Fisheries is accepting public comments through 5 p.m. April 23 on two proposed diamondback terrapin management areas in the southern coastal area of the state, where fishermen will be required to use turtle excluders in crab pots.
DMF is also accepting comments until April 6 for the Southern Regional Advisory Committee before the committee’s April 8 teleconference, when it will discuss and vote on the proposed Masonboro Island and Bald Head Island Diamondback Terrapin management areas.
The proposed areas must receive final approval by the Marine Fisheries Commission before being implemented.
The public can provide to the division comments, which will be passed along to the Marine Fisheries Commission, either online or by mail to Diamondback Terrapin Management Area Comments, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Emailed comments will not be accepted.
Based on the current guidance to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, the April 8 meeting will be held by teleconference. The public may listen to the committee discussions online and submit written comments by 5 p.m. April 6 either online or mailed to Southern Regional Advisory Committee Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557.
The Masonboro Island Diamondback Terrapin Management Area lies within and shares nearly the entire boundary with the Masonboro Island Estuarine Research Reserve and Natural Area and is bounded on the east by Masonboro Island and on the west by the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Bald Head Island Diamondback Terrapin Management Area is comprised of Zeke’s Island Estuarine Research Reserve in the northern portion of the management area and the Bald Head Island State Natural Area as the southern portion.
This area is bounded by a barrier island to the east, and Bald Head island to the south. The western boundary of this management area follows “the wall,” a rock structure that separates the Cape Fear River from Buzzard Bay and serves as the boundary for the Zeke’s Island Estuarine Research Reserve. At the end of the wall, the boundary runs on a line southwesterly to the northern tip of Bald Head Island.
A meeting agenda and more specifics on the proposed management areas can be found on the Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan Information webpage. For more information contact division biologists Corrin Flora at 252-264-3911 or Joe Facendola at 910-796-7291.