PINE KNOLL SHORES — Gill net fishermen will soon be able to return to the water, but no red drum caught in their nets as bycatch can be kept before the next season, which opens Sept. 1.
The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission took action Thursday that re-opens waters in certain exempted areas to allow anchored large-mesh gill net operations beginning June 1. However, no possession of red drum will be allowed.
The approved areas include western Albemarle Sound, Currituck Sound, Pamlico River, Pungo River, Neuse River and New River upstream of the N.C. 172 bridge.
The board also voted to allow large mesh runaround gill net fishing statewide but with no possession of red drum until Sept. 1.
It wasn’t what the North Carolina Fisheries Association had requested, but it does end a closure of coastal waters to gill net fishing that had been in place since May 5.
“We wanted to have some bycatch, but with this fishermen will be able to get back to work,” NCFA President Jerry Schill said.