01/02/09 — N.C. DMF recalls 2008 successes

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N.C. DMF recalls 2008 successes

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 2, 2009 1:46 PM

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries

MOREHEAD CITY -- The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries boasts several accomplishments in 2008.

A few are listed here:

* Fishing License Grant Proposals -- The Division of Marine Fisheries and Wildlife Resources Commission accepted their first out-of-house proposals for grants funded from the Coastal Recreational Fishing License. DMF received 19 applications that ranged from proposals to provide fishing opportunities for underprivileged children to plans for river herring research and public boating access projects.

The MFC and WRC expect to complete the funding decision process in January. For more information, contact Brian Cheuvront, the division's grants coordinator, at (252) 808-8015.

* Spiny Dogfish Dedicated Quota -- The Division of Marine Fisheries won a long-fought battle on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to obtain a dedicated allocation of spiny dogfish quota. North Carolina commercial fishermen had been disadvantaged by an ASMFC coast-wide spiny dogfish quota management system since the mid-1990s.

The quota was generally caught before the fish migrated to North Carolina waters. In October, after years of negotiations, the ASMFC approved a regional management approach for spiny dogfish that allocates 16 percent of the annual quota to North Carolina. The victory means commercial fishermen can look forward to an annual dogfish fishery.

It also shows that North Carolina's commercial fishermen do have a voice in the fisheries management process. For more information, contact Louis Daniel, the division's director, at (252) 726-7021.

* River Herring Research -- The Division of Marine Fisheries ramped up river herring research in 2008. With a $252,200 state appropriation in fiscal 2007 and $146,312 in fiscal 2008, biologists reinstated and expanded a river herring research program that was in place in the 1970s and 1980s, prior to losing federal funding.

The division also worked in cooperation with the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program, which had received $100,000 for river herring-related programs in 2007-2008. Biologists are reevaluating the river herring spawning area surveys from the 1970s and 1980s to determine if they are still functioning as spawning areas. They hope that the Division of Marine Fisheries can work with other agencies to restore some habitats that no longer function as spawning areas.

For information, contact Kathy Rawls, biologist supervisor in the Elizabeth City office, at (252) 264-2911.

* Red Drum Fishery Management Plan -- Recreational and commercial fishermen sparred for months in committee meetings and at public hearings to work with the state Division of Marine Fisheries and the Marine Fisheries Commission to develop Amendment I to the N.C. Red Drum Fishery Management Plan.

Recommendations in the updated plan include extending seasonal small-mesh gill net attendance requirements and a seasonal requirement for the use of circle hooks in Pamlico Sound and its tributaries. For more information, contact Lee Paramore, Red Drum biologist with the Division of Marine Fisheries, at (252) 473-5734, ext. 222.

* Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund -- In April, the division announced 13 sites selected for funding from a $20 million Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund approved by the General Assembly in 2007. The sites were selected to provide waterfront access to a variety of users, including commercial and recreational fishermen, pier fishermen, recreational boaters and the marine industry.

For more information, contact Louis Daniel, the division's director, at (252) 726-7021.

* Oyster Shell Recycling Program -- The Division of Marine Fisheries' Oyster Shell Recycling Program grew in 2008, adding four restaurants to the program for a total of 44. The program also added 25 new collection sites for a total of 98.

For more information, contact Sabrina Varnam, the division's Oyster Shell Recycling Program coordinator, at (252) 808-8056.

* Award for Excellence -- Ron Garner, senior marine engineer with the Division of Marine Fisheries Resource Enhancement Section, won a State Employee's Award for Excellence for refurbishing a 33-foot retired Navy utility boat bought for $25 through State Surplus Property.

Garner's efforts to restore the boat saved the state thousands of dollars. For more information, contact Garner at (252) 728-5028.