MOREHEAD CITY — Waters in the Pamlico Sound and the northern portion of Core Sound will close to anchored, large-mesh gill nets starting one hour after sunrise on Thursday morning due to interactions with sea turtles.
The closure impacts Management Unit B under the state’s Sea Turtle Incidental Take Permit, which includes all of Pamlico Sound and the northern portion of Core Sound down to a line from Club House on Core Banks to a point on the shore at Davis near Marker 1.
Staff with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries staff have observed numerous interactions with sea turtles in the management unit since it reopened Nov. 2. The closure is meant to avoid exceeding the allowed number of sea turtle interactions for the management unit.
For more specifics on open and closed areas, see Proclamation M-25-2015 at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.
North Carolina’s estuarine gill net fishery is managed under incidental take permits for sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon, issued to the state by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The permits require observer coverage. The permits authorize limited interactions with these species, listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, as part of conservation plans that divide the state’s internal coastal waters into six management units. These units are closely monitored for interactions with sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon. An annual number of allowed interactions with each species is assigned to each gear type in each management unit. If the number of interactions is approached, the management unit must close for the remainder of the season or year.