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Gill net fishermen reminded about observer requirements

The commercial flounder season opens soon, and the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is reminding gill net fishermen that one of the conditions for the Estuarine Gill Net Permit (EGNP) is to allow division staff to observe gill net operations.

In response to risks associated with COVID-19, observations will occur at a safe distance from fishermen using division-owned boats. Division staff will continue to contact fishermen to schedule observations and approach fishermen on the water to observe trips.

Refusing to allow an observer to observe a gill net trip will result in revocation of the fisherman’s EGNP.

The EGNP is a critical step in meeting the requirements of the division’s sea turtle and Atlantic sturgeon Incidental Take Permits issued by NOAA Fisheries under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act. It is required for anyone who sets an anchored gill net (large-mesh or small-mesh) in estuarine waters (commercially or recreationally).

Fishermen convicted of using anchored gill nets in internal coastal waters without holding an EGNP could be subject to a Class A1 misdemeanor.

The EGNP is available for free from the Division of Marine Fisheries. Fishermen can download an application at http://portal.ncdenr.org/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=4304b3fd-1232-4ffa-8b83-a33e6c37f667&groupId=38337. Completed applications may be emailed to License@ncdenr.gov or mailed to the Division of Marine Fisheries, License Office, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City 28557.

Fishermen also may submit completed applications in drop boxes provided at division offices in Morehead City, Manteo, Washington and Wilmington.

The commercial southern flounder season opens Sept. 15 in the Northern Management Area, which includes Albemarle, Roanoke, and Croatan sounds and their tributaries and Oct. 1 in other estuarine waters of the state. for specific information on the commercial flounder season in the Northern Management Area, see Proclamation M-14-2020.

READ MORE IN OUR ON THE WATER SECTION HERE.

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