Marine Fisheries Commission establishes first two state diamondback terrapin management areas

MOREHEAD CITY

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission on Thursday adopted the state’s first two diamondback terrapin management areas, where terrapin excluder devices will be required in crab pots.

These will help protect diamondback terrapins, which the state lists as a species of special concern in North Carolina.

The two areas – Masonboro Island Diamondback Terrapin Management Area and Bald Head Island Diamondback Terrapin Management Area – are in the southern coastal waters of the state. The management measures will be implemented by proclamation to take effect in early 2021, coinciding with the closed season so fishermen can modify their gear.

The commission also took steps toward requiring the type of hooks that can be used for some hook and line fishing. It directed the Division of Marine Fisheries to develop different options for rules regarding the use of circle hooks when fishing with natural bait and the use of barbless hooks when fishing with treble hooks. Once developed, the rule options would come back to the commission for its consideration.

In other action, the commission voted to:

  • Take preliminary steps toward developing rules to prohibit the repacking of imported crab meat into another container for resale within the state;
  • Approve notice of text and the corresponding fiscal analysis to begin the process of re-adoption of seven rules pertaining to recreational water quality monitoring to protect the public health of swimmers under a mandated periodic review of existing rules; and
  • Continue the suspension of rules for several fisheries proclamations pertaining to bluefish, gillnets, and crabs.

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