River Herring Moratorium to be Discussed at Public Meeting
RALEIGH, N.C. (April 3, 2006) ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, April 12 to discuss the recently enacted moratorium on taking and possessing river herring. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the CommissionersÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ Boardroom at the Brunswick Government Complex in Bolivia, and the public is invited to attend.
The moratorium, slated to go in effect July 1, will not affect the taking and possessing of river herring this spring.
The Wildlife Resources CommissionÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s decision to place a moratorium on the harvest of migratory, anadromous adult river herring was based on analysis of fisheries data that clearly indicates North CarolinaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s migratory river herring stocks are severely depleted and near collapse.
Herring populations in the lower Cape Fear River are particularly low. Biologists from the University of North Carolina at WilmingtonÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s Center for Marine Sciences conducted a year-long study on nine tributary creeks in the lower river and collected only 18 river herring, 16 from Town Creek and two from Sturgeon Creek.
The harvest moratorium does not apply to river herring less than 6 inches in length. Stunted herring less than 6 inches are commonly found in lakes and reservoirs and are a favorite bait fish used by many anglers. Migratory river herring in North CarolinaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s coastal rivers are all nearly 7 inches in length or greater.
TheN.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is developing a River Herring Fisheries Management Plan that will detail the steps necessary to recover North CarolinaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s river herring stocks. The Wildlife Resources Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service as well as other state and federal agencies are participants in developing this plan. Rebuilding spawning stock size, protecting critical river herring spawning and nursery area habitats and maintaining good water quality in North CarolinaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s coastal streams will be required to bring river herring back to their former abundance.
For more information, call the CommissionÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s Division of Inland Fisheries at (919) 707-0220.
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