RED SNAPPER – REOPEN LIMITED SEASON

RE: SNAPPER GROUPER COMPLEX- RECREATIONAL PURPOSES – RED SNAPPER – REOPEN LIMITED SEASON

This proclamation supersedes proclamation FF-43-2017 (REVISED) dated November 2, 2017. It reopens a limited recreational red snapper season in 2017 only for the weekend of December 8-10, 2017 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Please see the following NOAA Fishery Bulletin for more information: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishery_bulletins/2017/071/FB17-071.html.

Braxton C. Davis, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective 12:01 A.M. Friday, December 8, 2017 the following restrictions will apply to the recreational fisheries for snapper grouper:

I. Permit Requirements

A. It is unlawful to sell or offer for sale any species of the snapper grouper complex taken or possessed under the recreational bag limits specified in 50 CFR Part §622.187(b) unless the vessel owner has been issued a valid Federal Commercial South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Permit.

B. For a vessel with both a valid Federal South Atlantic Charter/Headboat Permit for snapper grouper and a valid Federal Commercial South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Permit it is unlawful to exceed the recreational bag limits for snapper grouper species when fishing with more than four persons (including captain and mate) on board, or when carrying paying customers.

C. For a vessel with both a valid Federal South Atlantic Charter/Headboat Permit for snapper grouper and a valid Federal Commercial South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Permit it is unlawful to sell or offer for sale any species of the snapper grouper complex harvested when fishing with more than four persons (including captain and mate) on board or when carrying paying customers.

II. Black Sea Bass, south of Cape Hatteras (35° 15.0321’ N. Latitude)

A. It is unlawful to possess black sea bass less than 13 inches total length.

B. It is unlawful to possess more than seven (7) black sea bass per person per day.

III. Groupers

A. It is unlawful to possess speckled hind, warsaw grouper, Nassau grouper, and goliath grouper.

B. It is unlawful to possess black grouper or gag grouper less than 24 inches total length.

C. It is unlawful to possess red grouper, yellowfin (fireback) grouper, yellowmouth grouper or scamp less than 20 inches total length.

D. It is unlawful to possess shallow water grouper species taken from the waters under the jurisdiction of North Carolina or the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council from January 1 through April 30. Shallow water grouper species include gag grouper, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, rock hind, red hind, coney, graysby, yellowfin grouper and yellowmouth grouper.

E. It is unlawful to possess snowy grouper except from May 1 through August 31 each year, subject to the bag limits in XVI.B.

IV. Greater Amberjack
It is unlawful to possess greater amberjack taken from waters under the jurisdiction of North Carolina or the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. The fishery will re-open March 1, 2018.

V. Other Jacks
The Jacks Complex includes almaco jack, banded rudderfish, and lesser amberjack. These species are included in the twenty (20) fish in the aggregate per person per day recreational bag and possession limit in XVI. C.

VI. Red Snapper
For the weekend period beginning at 12:01 A.M., Friday, December 8 through midnight, Sunday, December 10, 2017 it is unlawful to possess more than one red snapper per person per day. There is no minimum size limit.

VII. Vermilion Snapper

A. It is unlawful to possess vermilion snapper (beeliner) less than 12 inches total length.

B. It is unlawful to possess more than five (5) vermilion snapper per person per day.

VIII. Hogfish (hog snapper)

A. It is unlawful to possess hogfish less than 17 inches fork length.

B. It is unlawful to possess more than two hogfish per person per day.

IX. Other Snappers

A. It is unlawful to possess silk snapper, blackfin snapper, yellowtail snapper, cubera snapper, queen snapper and gray snapper less than 12 inches total length.

B. It is unlawful to possess mutton snapper less than 16 inches total length.

C. It is unlawful to possess lane snapper less than 8 inches total length.

X. Red Porgy

A. It is unlawful to possess red porgy less than 14 inches total length.

B. It is unlawful to possess more than three (3) red porgies per person per day, or three (3) per person per trip, whichever is more restrictive.

 

XI. Other Porgies

The Porgies Complex includes jolthead porgy, knobbed porgy, whitebone porgy, saucereye porgy, and scup. These species are included in the twenty (20) fish in the aggregate per person per day recreational bag and possession limit in XVI.C.

XII. Golden Tilefish

The golden tilefish recreational season opened January 1, 2017 and is subject to the bag limits in XVI.B.

XIII. Blueline Tilefish

It is unlawful to possess blueline tilefish except from May 1 through August 31 each year, subject to the bag limits in XVI.B.

XIV. Gray Triggerfish

A. It is unlawful to possess gray triggerfish less than 12 inches fork length.

B. The gray triggerfish recreational season opened January 1, 2017 and is subject to the bag limits in XVI.C.

XV. Wreckfish

A. It is unlawful to possess more than one wreckfish per vessel per day.

B. It is unlawful to possess wreckfish except from July 1 through August 31 of each year.

XVI. Combined Bag Limits

A. It is unlawful to possess more than five (5) vermilion snapper and ten (10) of the following species of snappers in the aggregate per person per day when the recreational season for each species is open: silk snapper, blackfin snapper, yellowtail snapper, cubera snapper, queen snapper, gray snapper, mutton snapper and lane snapper.

B. It is unlawful to possess more than three (3) of the following species of groupers or tilefish in the aggregate per person per day when the recreational season for each species is open: gag grouper, black grouper, snowy grouper, misty grouper, red grouper, scamp, yellowedge grouper, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth grouper; blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, and sand tilefish with the following restrictions:

1. No more than one may be a gag or black grouper (individually or in combination) per person per day;

2. No more than one golden tilefish per person per day.

3. No more than one snowy grouper per vessel per day.

C. It is unlawful to possess more than twenty (20) of the following species of fish in the aggregate per person per day when the recreational season for each species is open: whitebone porgy, jolthead porgy, knobbed porgy, saucereye porgy, scup (south of Cape Hatteras, 35° 15.0321’ N. Latitude), gray triggerfish, bar jack, almaco jack, banded rudderfish, lesser amberjack, white grunt, margate, sailor’s choice and spadefish.

XVII. Harvest Restrictions

A. It is unlawful to fail to use dehooking tools in the snapper grouper fisheries when the fish is to be released.

B. It is unlawful to fail to use non-stainless steel circle hooks when fishing for snapper grouper species using natural baits.

C. It is unlawful to possess any species of the snapper grouper complex without heads and fins intact as specified in 50 CFR Part §622.186.

 

XVIII. 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 .0506 and 03M .0512.

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

C. The intent of this proclamation is to maintain North Carolina’s compliance with the requirements of amendments to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region. Effective October 1, 2008, the provisions found in this proclamation were eliminated from N.C. Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03M .0506 in order to allow the Fisheries Director the latitude to comply with changes that occur in the requirements without suspending portions of the rule.

D. Provisions for multiple day trip possessions for vessels without a valid Federal South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Permit are found in 50 CFR Part §622.187(c). This federal rule states in part that a person aboard a charter vessel or headboat on a trip that spans more than 24 hours may possess no more than two daily bag limits of species other than red porgy. A person aboard a headboat on a trip that spans more than 48 hours and who can document that fishing was conducted on at least three days may possess no more than three bag limits of species other than red porgy. Privately-operated vessels are allowed only one bag limit.

E. Effective January 27, 2014, federal rules are amended to allow captains and crew of for-hire vessels with valid Federal South Atlantic Charter/Headboat Snapper Grouper Permits to retain bag limit quantities of all snapper grouper species during the open recreational season.

F. Fish harvested under the recreational bag limits may not be sold as part of a state-licensed recreational fishing tournament (50 CFR Part §622.192).

G. Vessels fishing in or harvesting fish from the EEZ are required to carry the appropriate federal permit when operating as a for-hire vessel. See 50 CFR Part §622.170(b).

H. 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.

I. Contact the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557, phone 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 for more information, or visit the division website at http://www.ncmarinefisheries.net. For a quick guide to snapper grouper regulations, please see http://safmc.net/regulations/regulation-fact-sheetsother-resources/.

J. This proclamation supersedes proclamation FF-43-2017 (REVISED) dated November 2, 2017. It reopens a limited recreational red snapper season in 2017 only for the weekend of December 8-10, 2017 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Please see the following NOAA Fishery Bulletin for more information: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishery_bulletins/2017/071/FB17-071.html.

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