Marine Fisheries requires pound net fishermen to check their nets daily
MOREHEAD CITY – For the next two weeks, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will require fishermen with pound nets in certain Carteret County waters to check their nets daily for sea turtles.
The regulation applies to pound nets in southern Core Sound, Back Sound and North River and is meant to protect sea turtles.
A N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission weekly summary of sea turtle strandings and incidental captures has shown an unusually high number of sea turtles caught in pound nets in these waters during the past several weeks. The Division of Marine Fisheries has had 10 reported incidental captures of sea turtles in pound nets (three loggerheads, three Kemp’s ridleys, three greens and one unidentified) and two observed (one loggerhead and one green) during the last several months. Most of the reported incidental captures of sea turtles have occurred since Sept. 21.
By checking their nets daily, fishermen can quickly release sea turtles from the leads or the pound without causing further harm to the animal. Also, this will allow for a much more efficient response if the sea turtle needs medical attention. Commercial fishermen should use National Marine Fisheries Service’s safe handling and release protocols (http://www.nero.noaa.gov/prot_res/stranding/SeaTurtleHandlingResuscitationv1.pdf), and report the interaction to the N.C. Marine Patrol (252-726-7021 or 1-800-682-2632) or the North Carolina Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network (252-241-7367). The fisherman will be informed on how to handle the specific situation and the steps to follow. It is important that fishermen report the sea turtle immediately to effectively respond to the interaction.
If fishermen cannot check their nets daily, the division encourages them to seek help from fellow fishermen to make sure their nets are being checked. Nets should be checked for sea turtle interactions each day even if nets are not being fished that day. Marine Patrol should be contacted immediately if fishermen cannot check their nets themselves, or fishermen should have someone check their nets for them.
For specifics of the regulation, see Proclamation M-34-2013 at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.
For more information, contact Jacob Boyd, with the division’s Protected Resources Section, at 252-808-8088 or Jacob.Boyd@ncdenr.gov.
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