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Southern Flounder FMP Amendment 1 NC Marine Fisheries Commission August 12, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Southern Flounder FMP Amendment 1 NC Marine Fisheries Commission August 12, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Southern Flounder FMP Amendment 1 NC Marine Fisheries Commission August 12, 2010

2 Overview Background –2005 FMP and 2009 Stock Assessment Life History Commercial and Recreational Fisheries Environmental Factors Management Issues and AC and NCDMF recommendations

3 Background 2005 FMP recommended management measures to end overfishing, reduce bycatch, and alleviate user conflicts 30% overall harvest reduction needed to achieve sustainable harvest Projected overall harvest reduction of 17.2% from MFC selected management measures –Reassess the stock after 3 years Commercial landings decreased and recreational harvest remained near time series high after FMP implementation

4 Background 2009 stock assessment: overfished & overfishing Sustainable harvest based on achieving spawning potential ratio (SPR) of 25% (F threshold = 0.59) (2005 FMP F threshold = 0.57) F (2007) = 0.75 Further harvest reductions needed to achieve sustainable harvest Harvest reductions based on projections that achieve sustainable harvest by 2015 Overfishing to end 2 years after FMP adoption

5 Life History Live up to age 9+ and grow as large as 20+ pounds Females grow larger than males Spawn in ocean (November-February) Juveniles in estuaries first two years of life

6 Commercial Fisheries 89% of total annual landings ( ) and averaged 3.3 million pounds per year Since FMP implementation, only 75% of total annual landings ( ) and averaged 2.2 million pounds per year 96% of landings from pound nets, gill nets and gigs Pound nets were historically the top gear but landings surpassed by gill nets in 1995

7 Recreational Fisheries Harvested by hook and line, gigs and gill nets Average annual hook and line harvest increased from 113,000 pounds/year ( ) to 309,000 pounds/year ( ) Annual Recreational use of Commercial Gear License (RCGL) harvest less than hook and line harvest with big decline from 2002 to 2007

8 Environmental Factors Southern flounder use a wide range of coastal habitats which all serve critical functions throughout their life history The Coastal Habitat Protection Plan (CHPP) focuses on fish habitat and threats to habitat 26 recommendations in this FMP are specific to southern flounder

9 Issues Ten principal management issues in 3 main categories: 1.Sustainable Harvest 2.Conflict between Fisheries 3.Bycatch of Undersized Southern Flounder and Protected Species

10 Achieving Sustainable Harvest Establish harvest reductions that end overfishing in 2 years and rebuild the spawning stock biomass by 2015

11 Management Options Commercial Status quo (sea turtle lawsuit settlement) Static/dynamic quotas 15-inch size limit Overall season closure Gear season closures Trip limits 5.75-inch minimum mesh size for large mesh gill nets and pound net escape panels Recreational Status quo 15-inch size limit Season closure Reduce the 8 fish creel limit

12 Research Recommendations Investigate the feasibility of a quota as a management tool for the commercial southern flounder fishery Annual survey of the recreational gig fishery (underway)

13 AC and DMF Recommendations Commercial: Status quo (large mesh gill net management measures implemented by sea turtle lawsuit settlement), which results in an overall commercial harvest reduction of 22.2% Recreational: Increase the minimum size limit to 15 inches and decrease the creel limit to 6 fish, which results in an overall recreational harvest reduction of 20.2%

14 Ocean Harvest of Southern Flounder The impact of the ocean harvest of older, larger, and predominantly female southern flounder to the stock

15 Management Options Status quo Management measures specifically for the ocean flounder fisheries that reduce adult harvest of southern flounder

16 Research Recommendations Further research on southern flounder remaining in ocean after spawning Determine exact spawning locations Further otolith microchemistry research Tagging study in ocean Update southern flounder maturity schedule Sample ocean spear fisheries

17 AC Recommendation Status quo—no additional commercial and recreational regulations specifically for ocean caught flounder DMF Recommendation Status quo and address the research recommendations

18 Large Mesh Gill Net -Related Conflicts User conflicts that occur between large mesh commercial gill net fishermen and recreational anglers and between large mesh gill net fishermen and other users

19 Management Options Status quo Maximum yardage limit reduction Limitations on how large mesh gill nets are set Daytime attendance Season closures Nursery area restrictions Mediation Area/coast-wide management measures

20 AC and DMF Recommendations Status quo—implement mediation and proclamation authority to address user conflicts associated with large mesh gill nets

21 Minimum Distance between Pound Nets and Gill Nets in Currituck Sound Competition for space between pound nets and gill nets in Currituck Sound

22 Management Options Status quo (200-yard minimum distance) Implement 500-yard minimum distance in Currituck Sound from August 15 through December 31

23 Research Recommendations Increased fish house sampling of the Currituck Sound flounder gill net and pound net fisheries Increased at-sea observer trips with gill netters and pound netters in Currituck Sound

24 AC Recommendation Implement a 500-yard minimum distance between gill nets and pound nets in Currituck Sound north of the Wright Memorial Bridge (US Highway 158) from August 15 through December 31 DMF Recommendation No recommendation

25 Explore the Elimination of the RCGL Determine if the elimination or phase-out of the RCGL is appropriate

26 Management Options Status quo Elimination of the RCGL Prohibit the use of gill nets by the RCGL Prohibit the use of shrimp trawls by the RCGL

27 Research Recommendations Reestablish a RCGL survey to obtain harvest and discard estimates Establish an at-sea observer program of the RCGL fishery

28 AC Recommendation Status quo regarding the RCGL license until there are data indicating a negative influence on southern flounder and support the NCDMF research recommendations as well as a survey of SCFL holders who are inactive to collect data on what SCFL holders are doing with their licenses DMF Recommendation Status quo and address research recommendations

29 Update on Southern Flounder Bycatch in the Crab Pot Fishery Update of information available on southern flounder bycatch in the crab pot fishery

30 Management Options Reduce Flounder Bycatch Status quo Require flatfish escapement devices on crab pots Minimize Ghost Pot Mortality Status quo Require degradable material in crab pots

31 Research Recommendations Formulate a bycatch estimate of southern flounder from crab pots Further research degradable materials to determine which works best in a given water body and how other parameters, such as microbial activities and light penetration impact degradation rates and performance of the crab pot Further research flatfish escapement devices that minimize undersized flounder bycatch and maximize the retention of marketable blue crabs

32 AC and DMF Recommendations Status quo and expand research on flatfish escapement devices and degradable panels under commercial conditions to other parts of the state to evaluate existing and alternative designs, degradation rates, and estimate the retention rate of legal sized blue crabs and the cost to crab pot fishermen

33 Southern Flounder Discards in the Recreational Hook and Line Fishery Release mortality of southern flounder in the recreational hook and line fishery and its potential impact on the stock

34 Management Options Status quo Implement regulations on terminal tackle used to fish for southern flounder Implement a summertime season closure to the recreational southern flounder fishery

35 Research Recommendations Further research on factors that impact release mortality of southern flounder in the recreational hook and line fishery Research on deep hooking events of different hook types and sizes on southern flounder

36 AC and DMF Recommendations Status quo and expand research on factors impacting the release mortality of southern flounder and on deep hooking events of different hook types and sizes on southern flounder

37 Incidental Capture of Protected Species in Southern Flounder Large Mesh Gill Net and Pound Net Fisheries Management actions for NC’s commercial large mesh estuarine flounder gill net fishery and flounder pound net fishery addressing incidental capture of protected species

38 Management Options Status quo Request funding for state observer program Apply for Incidental Take Permit for large mesh gill net fisheries Continue gear development research to minimize protected species interactions

39 Research Recommendations Population dynamics research for all Atlantic Ocean protected species Continued gear research in the design of gill nets and pound nets to minimize protected species interactions Development of alternative gears to catch southern flounder

40 AC and DMF Recommendations Request funding for state observer program Apply for Incidental Take Permit for large mesh gill net fisheries Continue gear development research to minimize species interactions

41 Gear Requirements in the Flounder Pound Net Fishery Evaluation of the 5.5-inch stretched mesh escape panel under a 14-inch minimum size limit, and the increased amount of undersized southern flounder caught in the flounder pound net fishery

42 Management Options Status quo Implement 5.75-inch escape panels coast wide Require pound netters to fish their nets after a certain number of days

43 Research Recommendations Further research on the size distribution of southern flounder retained in pound nets with 5.75-inch and 6-inch escape panels Research on the species composition and size distribution of fish and crustaceans that escape pound nets through 5.75-inch and 6- inch escape panels Coast wide at-sea observations of the flounder pound net fishery Discard mortality estimates of southern flounder from pound nets

44 AC Recommendation Status quo (5.5-inch escape panels coast wide) and recommend further research on 5.75-inch escape panels DMF Recommendation Status quo until further research is conducted to determine if rule changes are necessary

45 Gear Requirements in the Flounder Gill Net Fishery Evaluation of the 5.5-inch stretched mesh minimum mesh size for large mesh flounder gill nets under a 14-inch minimum size limit, and the effort in the large mesh gill net fishery

46 Mesh Size Management Options Status quo 5.75-inch minimum mesh size from April 15 to December inch minimum mesh size from June 1 to December 15

47 Maximum Yardage Limit Management Options Option 1 (Sea Turtle Lawsuit Settlement Agreement) 3,000 yards—Albemarle and Currituck sounds 2,000 yards—Croatan, Roanoke, Pamlico, Core, Back, and Bogue sounds; Pamlico, Pungo, Neuse, and Bay rivers 1,000 yards—Hwy. 58 Bridge at Emerald Isle to SC state line

48 Maximum Yardage Limit Management Options Option 2 2,000 yards—Albemarle, Currituck, Croatan, Roanoke, and Pamlico sounds 1,000 yards—Pamlico, Pungo, Neuse, and Bay rivers and from Core Sound to SC state line

49 Maximum Yardage Limit Management Options Option 3 2,000 yards—Albemarle, Currituck, Croatan, Roanoke, Pamlico, Core, and Back sounds 1,000 yards—Pamlico, Pungo, Neuse, and Bay rivers and from Hwy 58 Bridge at Emerald Isle to SC state line

50 Other Large Mesh Gill Net Management Options Maximum Net Length Status quo (sea turtle lawsuit settlement agreement) Coast wide maximum large mesh gill net length of 100 yards No Daytime Sets Status quo (sea turtle lawsuit settlement agreement) Coast wide restriction on daytime sets of large mesh gill nets

51 Research Recommendations Continue at-sea observations of the large mesh gill net fishery, including acquiring biological data on harvest and discards Increase the number of large mesh gill net catches sampled in areas such as Albemarle Sound and the Newport River

52 AC and DMF Recommendations Status quo (maintain minimum mesh size of 5.5-inch stretched mesh for large mesh gill nets from April 15 to December 15 and large mesh gill net management measures implemented by the sea turtle lawsuit settlement agreement)


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