Division of Marine Fisheries seeks input on automated system for anchored gill net fishery

Published 8:07 am Saturday, May 6, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

On Tuesday, May 9, 2023, the Division of Marine Fisheries is hosting a public outreach meeting to provide updates and gather input on the development and implementation of an automated system that will be used to schedule observer trips for the estuarine anchored gill-net fishery in North Carolina.

The meeting is scheduled for the Hatteras Village Community Building, located at 57689 NC 12, from 6 to 8 p.m.

At the May 1, Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting, commissioner Steve House reminded watermen of the meeting.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

The Division is working with the N.C. Department of Information Technology to develop the Observer Trip Scheduling System (OTSS), which will begin testing this fall.

The Division holds two Endangered Species Act Section 10 Incidental Take Permits (ITPs) for the incidental take of five species of sea turtles and Atlantic Sturgeon associated with lawful use of estuarine anchored gill nets. Per the Incidental Take Permits Conservation Plans, the Division must obtain 7% to 10% observer coverage of anchored large-mesh gill-net trips and 1% to 2% observer coverage of anchored small-mesh gill-net trips.
Using the under-development Observer Trip Scheduling System, fishermen will call in to an automated voice response system to report planned fishing trips. Fishermen from this list will be randomly selected to take an observer, then the automated system will contact all the fishermen who called in to alert them to their selection status. This will allow the Division to more efficiently schedule observer trips to administer the Observer Program and ensure greater compliance with the requirements of the Incidental Take Permits and Estuarine Gill Net Permits.

Public outreach meetings on this idea were scheduled in Washington, Morehead City, Wilmington and Barco. The Hatteras meeting is the last one.