Net rules changed in Albemarle Sound area

Published 3:12 pm Saturday, December 3, 2022

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North Carolina Marine Fisheries Proclamation M-26-2022 removed attendance requirements for anchored small mesh net attendance in the Albemarle Sound area, Management Unit A.

The proclamation was effective at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022.

The proclamation imposes vertical height restrictions for anchored gill nets with a stretched mesh length of 3 inches through 3¾ inches. It maintains the exempted portion of Management Unit A that allows the use of run-around, strike, drop and trammel gill nets with a stretched mesh length of 5½ inches through 6½ inches to harvest blue catfish.

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Management Unit A encompasses all internal coastal fishing waters bound from Oregon Inlet to the south to the North Carolina/Virginia state line. This includes Albemarle, Currituck, Croatan and Roanoke sounds and their tributaries.

The proclamation states: “It is unlawful to use drift gill nets in the Joint Fishing Waters portion of the Roanoke, Middle, Eastmost, Cashie, Chowan and Meherrin rivers and all other joint water tributaries of the Albemarle Sound Management Area …”

The proclamation further states “It is unlawful to use fixed or stationary gill nets with a stretched mesh length of 3 inches through 3¾ inches unless the nets are set to fish the bottom of the water column and not to exceed a vertical height of 48 inches off the bottom of the water column.”

All provisions apply to Management Unit A, Sub-Unit A1 and additionally, run-around, strike, drop and trammel gill nets “with stretched mesh lengths 5½ inches through 6½ inches MAY be used.”

“The intent of this proclamation is to implement gill net restrictions in accordance with Amendment 3 to the N.C. Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan, Amendment 2 to the N.C. River Herring Fishery Management Plan, and Amendment 1 to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan, and to minimize interactions with threatened and/or endangered species. This allows for the blue catfish, white perch, and mullet fisheries in specified areas and times with minimal impacts to other species,” states the proclamation.