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Black sea bass fishery opens Friday

North Carolina Marine Fisheries Proclamation FF-45-2021 opens the Atlantic Ocean commercial black sea bass fishery north of Cape Hatteras at 12:01 a.m. on August 6, 2021 and sets the harvest period and offload limits. The fishery will close by proclamation once the annual North Carolina quota is reached or at 6 p.m. on September 3, 2021, whichever occurs first.

The proclamation states the following:

“It is unlawful to possess black sea bass less than 11 inches total length (excluding the caudal fin filament) north of Cape Hatteras.

“It is unlawful for a commercial fishing operation employing fish pots, traps, and/or hook and line gear, regardless of the number of people involved, to possess or land more than 2,000 pounds of black sea bass per week. For the purpose of this proclamation, a week shall be from 12:01 a.m., Sunday to midnight the following Saturday.

“It is unlawful for a commercial fishing operation employing trawls, regardless of the number of people involved, to offload more than 4,000 pounds of black sea bass during the harvest period.

“It is unlawful for a commercial fishing operation employing any other gear not listed above, regardless of the number of people involved, to possess or land more than 100 pounds of black sea bass per trip.

“Vessels employing trawls can possess landing limits for other states, but it is unlawful to offload those fish in North Carolina.

“The intent of this proclamation is to allow North Carolina to comply with the requirements of the joint Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council/Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and to manage the commercial black sea bass fishery under the state quota system established by the FMP. North Carolina is operating under a state quota and these trip limits and harvest periods are intended to constrain the harvest to the quota.”

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