N.C. sets new sturgeon bycatch rules

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries recently signed an agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service that implements a statewide incidental take permit for Atlantic sturgeon in the estuarine large-mesh and small-mesh anchored gillnet fisheries.
 
 The permit authorizes the limited take of Atlantic sturgeon in this fishery under a conservation plan designed to monitor, minimize and mitigate incidental interactions.
 
The division has been working on an incidental take permit for Atlantic sturgeon since it was listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in April 2012.
 
The agreement for Atlantic sturgeon trails a statewide incidental take permit obtained by the division last year for sea turtles.
 
Both allow for the continued use of gillnets in traditional commercial fisheries, such as southern flounder, American shad, spot and striped mullet while providing for protection of endangered species.
 
In each case it is also important for fishermen to comply with requirements that observers be allowed to board for fishing trips.
 
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