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June 25, 2018 8:10 am EST
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PROCLAMATION

RE: STRIPED BASS SEASON - COMMERCIAL FISHING OPERATIONS - INTERNAL COASTAL WATERS OF CRAVEN, BEAUFORT, AND PAMLICO COUNTIES, PUNGO RIVER, WEST BAY, AND PAMLICO SOUND


This proclamation opens the 2018 Central Southern Management Area (CSMA) commercial striped bass fishery and sets the commercial harvest limit.

Stephen W. Murphy, Director, N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at 8:00 A.M., Thursday, March 1, 2018, the striped bass season WILL OPEN in the areas described below for COMMERCIAL FISHING OPERATIONS. The following restrictions will apply:

I. AREA DESCRIPTION (
See Map)

A. Pamlico and Pungo rivers and their joint and coastal water tributaries west of a line beginning at a point on the north shore 35° 22.3622' N - 76° 28.2032’ W (Roos Point) running southerly to a point on the south shore 35° 18.5906’ N - 76° 28.9530’ W (Pamlico Point).

B. Jones Bay/Bay River - west of a line beginning at Sow Island Point at 35° 13.0167’ N - 76° 29.7000’ W, running southwest to a point at Bay Point at 35° 11.0833’ N - 76° 31.5667’ W, then running southerly to Maw Point at 35° 09.0333’ N - 76° 32.1667’ W.

C. Neuse River - west of a line beginning at Maw Point at 35° 09.0333’ N - 76° 32.1667’ W, running southeast to Point of Marsh at 35° 04.5500’ N - 76° 28.2333’ W.

D. West Bay - south of a line beginning at a point at 35° 03.5167’ N - 76° 26.1333’ W, running southeasterly to a point at 35° 02.1833’ N - 76° 21.7500’ W.

E. Pamlico Sound - south of a line beginning at a point on Roanoke Marshes Point 35° 48.3693’ N - 75° 43.7232’ W, running southeasterly to the north point of Eagle Nest Bay 35° 44.1710’ N - 75° 31.0520' W [southern boundary of the Albemarle Sound Management Area (ASMA)] and north of the boundaries of Section I. A., I. B., I. C., and I. D. and north of a line from Camp Point at 35° 00.0833’ N - 76° 14.8000’ W, through Wainwright Island running southeasterly to a point on Core Banks at 34° 58.7853’ N - 76° 09.8922’ W.

II. SIZE and HARVEST RESTRICTIONS

A. It is unlawful to take, possess, buy, sell, or offer for sale striped bass less than 18 inches in total length.

B. In the areas described in Section I. above, it is unlawful for an individual or fishing operation, regardless of the number of persons or boats involved or the number of areas fished, to take, possess, transport, buy, sell, or offer for sale more than ten (10) striped bass per day in any combined commercial fishing operation, except that a fishing operation consisting of more than one Standard Commercial Fishing License (SCFL) or Retired Standard Commercial Fishing License (RSCFL) holder onboard may be in possession of up to two daily harvest limits. A SCFL holder must accompany each single harvest limit until the time of sale to a dealer that holds a valid 2017/2018 Striped Bass Dealer Permit validated for the Central Southern Management Area (CSMA).

C. In the areas described in Section I. D. and I. E. above, striped bass shall only be taken in conjunction with other finfish species and striped bass are limited to 50% by weight of the combined daily harvest. 

III. LANDING RESTRICTIONS

A. Striped bass taken from areas opened by this proclamation may only be sold and purchased by a currently licensed finfish dealer possessing a valid STRIPED BASS DEALER PERMIT validated for the CSMA.

B. It is unlawful to purchase more than the daily harvest limit of striped bass from a SCFL holder in any one day.

C. It is unlawful to sell, offer for sale or purchase striped bass taken by hook-and-line. 

IV. SEASON CLOSURE
The striped bass season for commercial fishing operations for the areas described in Section I. above will close by this proclamation at midnight, April 30, 2018 unless closed by proclamation at an earlier date when the annual harvest allocation is met. Dealers will have two weeks after the close of the season to sell, offer for sale, transport, or have in possession unfrozen striped bass taken in this fishery.

V. 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 Commission Rules 15A NCAC 03H .0103, 03M .0202 and 03O .0500.

B. It is unlawful to violate the provisions of any proclamation issued by the Fisheries Director under his delegated authority pursuant N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03H .0103.

C. It is unlawful for finfish dealer to possess, buy, sell or offer for sale striped bass taken from the areas opened by this proclamation without first obtaining a valid STRIPED BASS DEALER PERMIT validated for the CSMA from the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. Dealers must abide by all conditions of the STRIPED BASS DEALER PERMIT and the general permit provisions in accordance with N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03O .0502.

D. Striped bass lawfully sold to a permitted dealer may be resold to a non-permitted wholesale or retail market provided the initial permitted dealer records their dealer license identification number on each bill of lading or receipts involved in the shipment of striped bass. Any individual or corporation who holds a current finfish dealer license must obtain a valid STRIPED BASS DEALER PERMIT validated for the CSMA in order to sell any striped bass personally harvested.

E. The intent of this proclamation is to allow the harvest of striped bass in the CSMA by commercial operations within the 25,000-pound quota established by the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP) Amendment 1. When the CSMA striped bass season closes, a subsequent proclamation will be issued to implement the tie-down and 50-yard distance from shore requirements also established in the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass FMP Amendment 1.

F. All striped bass taken during season closures and all undersized striped bass shall be immediately returned to the waters taken, regardless of the condition of the fish.

G. In accordance with N.C Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCA 03M .0201, it is unlawful for a dealer to possess, buy, sell or offer for sale striped bass taken from the areas opened by this proclamation without having a N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries - issued green colored tag affixed through the mouth and gill cover. In the case of striped bass imported from other states, a similar tag that is issued for striped bass in the state of origin must be affixed.

H. N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries striped bass tags may not be bought, sold, offered for sale, or transferred.

I. Holders of Recreational Commercial Gear Licenses (RCGL) or hook-and-line fishermen must follow the bag and harvest restrictions of the recreational fishery for striped bass.

J. Permits may be obtained from all N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries License Offices.

K. Dealers with a valid Striped Bass Dealer Permit for Quota Monitoring shall contact the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Elizabeth City office 252-264-3911 and speak to Kimberly Hewitt to obtain harvest tags. Tags shall be picked up from a N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries office.

L. There is no open commercial season for striped bass in counties south of the line referenced in Section I. E. (Camp Point through Wainwright Island to Core Banks).

M. The 22-inch to 27-inch total length no possession slot limit for striped bass established in N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03Q .0107 does not apply to commercial fishing operations in Joint Fishing Waters.

N. Contact N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 for more information or visit the division website at 
www.ncmarinefisheries.net.

O. In accordance with N.C. General Statute 113-221.1 (c), all persons who may be affected by proclamations issued by the Fisheries Director are under a duty to keep themselves informed of current proclamations.

P. This proclamation opens the 2018 Central Southern Management Area (CSMA) commercial striped bass fishery and sets the commercial harvest limit.

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