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Monkfish season opens in Atlantic

North Carolina Marine Fisheries Proclamation FF-9-2018 established permit requirements and season and gear restrictions for the 2018 commercial monkfish fishery.

The proclamation was effective at 12:01 a.m., Friday, March 16, 2018. This gill net fishery will close at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 14, 2018, unless closed earlier by another proclamation.

The area described for the fishery is “The Atlantic Ocean in a one mile wide area extending from two miles seaward of the coastline to three miles seaward of the coastline from the North Carolina/Virginia state line southward to Wimble Shoals (Latitude 35° 30’N). In the area of Oregon Inlet, the COLREGS line shall be considered the coastline.”

Additionally, the proclamation states: “Seasons and areas opened may be closed or modified by proclamation if reliable sea surface temperature data indicates that water temperatures are greater than 11° C (52° F) or should interactions occur between gill nets with a stretched mesh size of seven (7) inches or greater and marine mammals, Atlantic sturgeon or sea turtles.

“The Atlantic Ocean is closed to the use of gill nets with seven (7) inches stretched mesh or greater by Proclamation M-21-2017, dated Dec. 7, 2017 from Dec. 16, 2017 through April 14, 2018 with the exception of the monkfish and striped bass fisheries.”

To participate in the fishery, a 2018 Monkfish Large Mesh Gill Net Permit is required. Those free permits will be issued only to holders of a valid Standard or Retired Standard Commercial Fishing License.