Fisheries rule changes applicable to special secondary nursery areas go into effect Saturday, The Division of Marine Fisheries announced Thursday.
The changes reclassify nine special secondary nursery areas, which are not permanent, to secondary nursery areas, or areas of the estuarine system where later juvenile development takes place.
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 additional small mesh gill net attendance requirements in most of the following areas:
- Newport River, Cape Fear River, Lockwood Folly River, and Saucepan Creek, where attendance in all waters from May 1-Nov. 30 is now required.
- Pungo Creek, Slade Creek, South Creek, and Bond/Muddy creeks, where year-round attendance within 200 yards of shore is maintained with an additional requirement of attendance in all waters from May 1- Nov. 30.
- Scranton Creek has no change in its small mesh gill net attendance requirements from the reclassification.
The following rules pertaining to shellfish growing waters, processing of crustacea meat and oyster sanctuaries were also readopted and take effect Saturday. Rules in 15A NCAC 03R and 18A:
- Amend the oyster sanctuaries rule by adding new sites of Long Shoal, Little Creek, Pea Island, Raccoon Island, and Swan Island, updating boundaries for existing sites, Neuse River, West Bluff, and Gibbs Shoal, and removing 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.
The changes, as recommended by the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Amendment 1, were readopted by the Marine Fisheries Commission in February under a state-mandated periodic review schedule.
Text of the readopted rules will be posted Saturday in the Supplement to the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission Rules April 1, 2020, on the Marine Fisheries Commission’s Rules and Regulations webpage. Until May 1, the April 1, 2021 Supplement to the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission Rules April 1, 2020 remains in effect.