RE: WEAKFISH COMMERCIAL
Dr. Louis B. Daniel III, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at 6:00 A.M. Monday, January 19, 2009, the following restrictions will apply to the commercial weakfish fishery:
I. COMMERCIAL FISHING OPERATIONS, EXCLUDING HOOK-AND-LINE, SIZE LIMITS:
A. No person may take, possess, transport, buy, sell, or offer for sale weakfish less than 12 inches total length in state waters or within 200 miles of shore in the Atlantic Ocean except as provided in I.(B) below.
B. From April 1 through November 15, weakfish 10 inches total length or more may lawfully be taken in North Carolina internal waters by use of long haul seines or pound nets only and possessed, transported, bought, sold, or offered for sale.
A. GILL NETS:
No person may possess aboard or land from any vessel using a flynet more than 150 pounds of weakfish during any one day or trip, whichever is longer, in state waters or within 200 miles of the shore in the Atlantic Ocean, unless all flynets on board meet the following requirements:
1. The flynet is constructed with large mesh in the wings that measure not less than 8 inches or more than 64 inches (inside stretched mesh length);
2. The first body section (belly) of the net has 35 or more meshes that are at least 8 inches (inside stretched mesh length);
3. The mesh decreases in size throughout the body of the net to a tailbag of a minimum length of 15 feet with a minimum inside stretched mesh length of 3 1/2 inches hung on the square or 3 3/4 inches hung on a diamond; and
4. Extensions must be a minimum of 20 feet in length and constructed of webbing with a minimum inside stretched mesh length of 3 inches hung on a square, except that when the tailbag is 25 feet or greater in length, extensions may be constructed of either square or diamond meshes.
C. For commercial fishing operations operating with gill nets and flynets that do not meet the requirements of II. (A) and (B) above, weakfish may be taken as bycatch incidental to those gill net and flynet operations provided that the weight of the weakfish shall not exceed 50% of the total weight of the combined catch up to 150 pounds of weakfish.
D. SHRIMP/CRAB TRAWLS:
No person may possess more than 150 pounds of weakfish (12 inches or more in total length) taken with a shrimp or crab trawl. The weight of the weakfish shall not exceed 50% of the total weight of the combined catch up to 150 pounds of weakfish. This limit does not apply to a Recreational Commercial Gear License shrimp trawl.
III. GENERAL INFORMATION:
A. This proclamation is issued under the authority of N.C.G.S. 113-170.4; 113-170.5; 113-182; 113-221.1; 143B-289.52; and N.C. Marine Fisheries Rules 15A NCAC 3H .0103 and 3M .0512.
B. It is unlawful to violate the provisions of any proclamation issued by the Fisheries Director under his delegated authority pursuant to N.C. Marine Fisheries Rule15A NCAC 3H .0103.
C. It is unlawful to use flynets south of Cape Hatteras to the North Carolina/South Carolina line according to N.C. Fisheries Rule 15A NCAC 3J .0202.
D. The intent of this proclamation is to implement restrictions required to comply with the Addendum II of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Weakfish Management Plan. The commercial bycatch allowance for weakfish remains 150 pounds per day or per trip, whichever is longer. This proclamation only updates a rule authority reference in III.A.
E. Quantity of finfish taken incidental to shrimp or crab trawling in the Atlantic Ocean may not exceed the combined catch of shrimp and crabs as stated in N.C. Fisheries Rule 15A NCAC 3J .0202 (5) (a). The possession amounts in II. D. above must meet the requirements of this rule.
F. This proclamation supersedes Proclamation FF-52-2007, dated August 21, 2007.
January 14, 2009