Fisheries approves 15 Coastal Recreational Fishing License grants

 MOREHEAD CITY – Revenues from the N.C. Coastal Recreational Fishing License will pay $1.7 million in the coming year for projects that provide coastal fishing access and fisheries and habitat research.

 

 The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission approved 15 grants totaling $1,794,208 for the 2016-17 cycle. The grants are funded from the N.C. Marine Resources Fund, which receives revenues from the sale of Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses.

 

The grants are sorted into three focus areas. Grants that fall under the People focus area include public education and public water access projects. Grants that fall under the Fish focus area are fisheries research projects. Grants that fall under the Habitat focus area include projects that enhance, protect or research fisheries habitat.

 

Six grants, totaling $983,505, were approved in the People focus area. They are:

·         N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries to update and reprint North Carolina Angler’s Guide – $77,750

Two-year grant to fund the fourth update and printing of the North Carolina Coastal Recreational Angler’s Guide

·         N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries for Marine Patrol Education Team continuation – $11,800

One-year grant to continue to provide educational equipment and resources to the N.C. Marine Patrol

·         Town of Oak Island for a regional fishing pier and kayak launch – $69,955

One-year grant for the installation of a fishing pier with an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant kayak launch at a Town of Oak Island park

·         Eastern Carolina Artificial Reef Association for sunken vessel artificial reefs in Northern Onslow Bay – $185,000

One-year grant to fund the acquisition of retired marine vessels to establish sunken vessel artificial reefs in Northern Onslow Bay

·         N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s West Onslow Bay’s boating access area reconstruction  – $300,000

One-year grant for site improvements to the boating and fishing access at the West Onslow Bay Boat Access Area

·         Long Bay Artificial Reef Association for enhancement of artificial reef (AR-430) – $339,000

One-year grant to fund enhancements of the nearshore artificial reef site AR-430 off Brunswick County

 

Five grants, totaling $277,967, were approved in the Fish Focus area. They are:

·         N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries for validating and updating maturation schedules for better management of North Carolina fisheries – $46,392

Three-year grant to fund a project that will use a combined maturity staging approach to validate and update maturity schedules for commercially and recreationally important North Carolina finfish fisheries

·         N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries for N.C. Marine Patrol technology – $96,476

Two-year grant to provide funding for equipment that will allow officers to respond to request from the public for information pertaining to fisheries rules and regulations, perform license verifications, allow the officers to provide printed documents on site, and complete reporting assignments in the field

·         University of North Carolina at Wilmington for a comprehensive evaluation of the North Carolina red drum juvenile abundance index – $60,282

Three-year grant to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the North Carolina red drum juvenile abundance index, assessing spatial and temporal persistence and the potential for a partial replacement survey design

·         University of North Carolina at Wilmington for a partnership for sustained fisheries management: development of a research fellowship program – $57,488

Three-year grant to establish a partnership between the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington whereby master’s level graduate students and undergraduate students would address specific research needs identified by division topic experts

·         N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries for an economic and social survey of Coastal Recreational Fishing License holders in North Carolina – $17,329

One-year grant to conduct a representative survey that collects economic and social information from individuals who were licensed to fish in coastal areas of North Carolina in 2015 that will provide valuable data that is representative of specific research needs related to the division’s current and future fisheries management plans

The Habitat Focus area has four grants totaling $532,736, including:

·         East Carolina University for submerged aquatic vegetation SONAR mapping surveys in low-salinity habitats: Neuse River – $77,103

One-year grant to expand the current program that uses long-shore rapid assessment survey techniques to obtain maps in areas of submerged aquatic vegetation

·         N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries for development of inshore fishing oyster reefs and the development and protection of oyster sanctuaries – $101,200

Two-year grant to provide funding for a project to increase the productivity of Deep Bay, West Bay, and Middle Bay sanctuaries by enhancing structures at these sites

·         N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Funding for maintenance of the vessel West Bay to continue development of artificial reefs and oyster sanctuaries – $250,000

One-year grant to fund maintenance of the West Bay, the primary vessel needed to continue the programmatic goals of the artificial reef and oyster sanctuary program

·         University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for investigating rates of sedimentation in tidal creeks and resulting impacts on fishery production in primary and secondary nurseries – $104,433

Three-year grant to fund a study to combine coring, surveying, and experimental approaches to develop a more thorough understanding of how sedimentation is affecting recreationally important fisheries via the tidal creek and estuarine nurseries they rely on

For more information on these grants or the Coastal Recreational Fishing License grant program, contact Wayne Johannessen, Coastal Recreational Fishing License grants coordinator, at 252-808-8004 or Wa***************@nc****.gov.
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