Presentation on theme: "Presentation for Marine Debris Symposium September 18, 2013."— Presentation transcript:
Presentation for Marine Debris Symposium September 18, 2013
Topics: Nets Storm debris Crab pots Sunken boats Related NC General Statutes What can I do?
Nets Various types of nets are used in NC for fishing: Gill nets are the most common – these are used to capture fish in both the commercial and recreational fisheries. These can be anywhere from 100 – 1000 yards long. Various rules and regulations are in place regarding their use. Seine nets are much shorter with smaller mesh size. All nets are required to have some sort of identification on them. Typically this is two (2) round buoys attached to each end with owners information engraved.
Storm debris The term “storm debris” could be used to define many different things. Most often the term is used following severe storms such as hurricanes that cause damage to property. This property is scattered throughout many areas during the storms impact. This can mean parts of docks, parts of homes, refrigerators, coolers, and other objects.
Crab pots These are generally tw0 (2) feet by two (2) feet square and used in both the recreational and commercial fisheries. The pots are expensive gear – most cost around $50 each and must be identified as well. Buoys must be attached to the pot with non-floating line and there are regulations concerning their use. Most fisherman mark their pots using markings or by some minor altercation to the pot that only they can identify. This helps in case pots are stolen.
Sunken boats These can be sunk or submerged and dependant on the location, may fall into several different jurisdictions. If it is in a marked channel and a hazard to navigation, the US Coast Guard may get involved, as may the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. If in an area owned by a city or municipality, they may take jurisdiction. If on land, other issues may be involved – land owner vs. vessel owner. Ownership of these is often hard to track down. This is due to age of vessel, its condition, or owner whereabouts.
NC General Statute – for citizens: 113-268. Injuring, destroying, stealing, or stealing from nets, seines, buoys, pots, etc. (a) It is unlawful for any person without the authority of the owner of the equipment to take fish from nets, traps, pots, and other devices to catch fish which have been lawfully placed in the open waters of the State. (b) It is unlawful for any master or other person having the management or control of a vessel in the navigable waters of the State to willfully, wantonly, and unnecessarily do injury to any seine, net or pot which may lawfully be hauled, set, or fixed in such waters for the purpose of taking fish except that a net set across a channel may be temporarily moved to accommodate persons engaged in drift netting, provided that no fish are removed and no damage is done to the net moved. (c) It is unlawful for any person to willfully steal, destroy, or injure any buoys, markers, stakes, nets, pots, or other devices on property lawfully set out in the open waters of the State in connection with any fishing or fishery. (d) Violation of subsections (a), (b), or (c) is a Class A1 misdemeanor. (e) The Department may, either before or after the institution of any other action or proceeding authorized by this section, institute a civil action for injunctive relief to restrain a violation or threatened violation of subsections (a), (b), or (c) of this section pursuant to G.S. 113-131. The action shall be brought in the superior court of the county in which the violation or threatened violation is occurring or about to occur and shall be in the name of the State upon the relation of the Secretary. The court, in issuing any final order in any action brought pursuant to this subsection may, in its discretion, award costs of litigation including reasonable attorney and expert-witness fees to any party. (1987, c. 636, s. 1; 1989, c. 727, s. 112; 1993, c. 539, s. 849; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1998-225, s. 3.9.)
NC General Statute – For violators: 14-399. Littering. (Portions of the Statute) (a) No person, including any firm, organization, private corporation, or governing body, agents or employees of any municipal corporation shall intentionally or recklessly throw, scatter, spill or place or intentionally or recklessly cause to be blown, scattered, spilled, thrown or placed or otherwise dispose of any litter upon any public property or private property not owned by the person within this State or in the waters of this State including any public highway, public park, lake, river, ocean, beach, campground, forestland, recreational area, trailer park, highway, road, street or alley…… (e) Any person who violates subsection (a) of this section in an amount exceeding 500 pounds or in any quantity for commercial purposes, or who discards litter that is a hazardous waste as defined in G.S. 130A-290 is guilty of a Class I felony.
What can I do? If you come across fishing gear that looks like it is debris, or litter – don’t assume that it is. You don’t want to try to “do the right thing” and end up being issued a citation for tampering with gear. Call our 24 hour Communications Center at 1-800-682-2632 for reporting this. Officers can quickly assess whether there may be any Marine Fisheries violations and determine the best action. The NC Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section may be available to assist in our investigation.
Working cooperatively NC Coastal Federation, in cooperation with the NC Marine Patrol received a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NC Sea Grant to help remove abandoned fishing gear during mid January – early February 2014. This is something that has been explored many times in the past, but has only recently been approved as a pilot project. Legal aspects, such as determination of true abandoned gear (the unique markings on pots) were reviewed. Marine Patrol officers will be present in the area while this is being done in the areas from Currituck Sound southward to Oregon Inlet.