Section .0500 – Pound Nets

 

15A NCAC 03J .0501        DEFINITIONS AND STANDARDS FOR POUND NETS AND POUND NET SETS

(a)  For the purpose of this Section the following terms are hereby defined:

(1)           Pound Net Set Permit.  A Division authorization to set and fish a pound net set in a commercial fishing operation in a specified location in a specified fishery.

(2)           Permit period.  One year from the date of issuance of a new or renewal pound net set permit.

(3)           Deployed pound net.  Setting of any part of a pound net, except for a location identification stake or for a pound net used in the Atlantic Ocean a location identification buoy placed at each end of a proposed new location.

(4)           Operational pound net set.  A pound net set as defined in 15A NCAC 03I .0101 and deployed according to rules and permit conditions with net attached to stakes or anchors for the lead and pound, including only a single pound in a multi-pound set, and a non-restricted opening leading into the pound such that the set is able to catch and hold fish.

(5)           Flounder pound net.  A pound net set that produces a catch consisting of 50 percent or more flounder by weight of the entire landed catch, excluding blue crabs or a pound net set with all pounds (holding pen) constructed of four inch stretch mesh or greater.

(6)           Shrimp pound net.  A pound net set with all pounds (holding pen) constructed of stretch mesh equal to or greater than one and one-fourth inches and less than or equal to two inches.

(b)  It is unlawful for a pound net used in a commercial fishing operation to:

(1)           Be deployed on a site without first obtaining a Pound Net Set Permit from the Fisheries Director.

(2)           Fail to be operational for a minimum of 30 consecutive days during the pound net set permit period unless a season for the fishery for which the pound net set is permitted is ended earlier due to a quota being met.

(c)  It is unlawful for a pound net set in a commercial fishing operation in coastal fishing waters to fail to:

(1)           Have the permittee's identification legibly printed on a sign no less than six inches square, securely attached to a stake at the permitted ends of each set at all times. For pound net sets in the Atlantic Ocean using anchors instead of stakes, the set shall be identified with a yellow buoy, which shall be of solid foam or other solid buoyant material no less than five inches in diameter and no less than 11 inches in length.  The permittee's identification shall be legibly printed on the buoy.  The identification on signs or buoys shall include the Pound Net Set Permit number and the permittee's last name and initials.

(2)           Have yellow light reflective tape or yellow light reflective devices on each pound.  The yellow light reflective tape or yellow light reflective devices shall be affixed to a stake of at least three inches in diameter on any outside corner of each pound, shall cover a vertical distance of not less than 12 inches, and shall be visible from all directions.

(3)           Have a marked navigational opening at least 25 feet wide at the end of every third pound.  The opening shall be marked with yellow light reflective tape or yellow light reflective devices on each side of the opening.  The yellow light reflective tape or yellow light reflective devices shall be affixed to a stake of at least three inches in diameter, shall cover a vertical distance of not less than 12 inches, and shall be visible from all directions.

If a permittee notified of a violation under this Paragraph fails or refuses to take corrective action sufficient to remedy the violation within 10 days of receiving notice of the violation, the Fisheries Director shall revoke the permit.

(d)  It is unlawful to use a Recreational Commercial Gear License  (RCGL) shrimp pound net as defined in 15A NCAC 03O .0302 (a)(8) in coastal fishing waters unless the shrimp pound net is:

(1)           Marked by attaching to the offshore lead, one floating buoy, any shade of hot pink in color, which is of solid foam or other solid buoyant material no less than five inches in diameter and no less than five inches in length.  The owner shall be identified on the buoy by using an engraved buoy or by attaching engraved metal or plastic tags to the buoy.  The identification shall include owner's last name and initials and if a vessel is used, one of the following:

(A)          Gear owner's current motor boat registration number; or

(B)          Owner's U.S. vessel documentation name.

(2)           Set a minimum of 100 yards from a RCGL shrimp pound net set or 300 yards from an operational permitted shrimp pound net set.

(e)  Escape Panels:

(1)           The Fisheries Director may, by proclamation, require escape panels in pound net sets and may impose any or all of the following requirements or restrictions on the use of escape panels:

(A)          Specify size, number, and location.

(B)          Specify mesh length, but not more than six inches.

(C)          Specify time or season.

(D)          Specify areas.

(2)           It is unlawful to use flounder pound net sets without four unobstructed escape panels in each pound.  The escape panels shall be fastened to the bottom and corner ropes on each wall on the side and back of the pound opposite the heart.  The escape panels shall be a minimum mesh size of five and one-half inches, hung on the diamond, and shall be at least six meshes high and eight meshes long.

(f)  During 1 December through 1 February the Director shall by proclamation establish time periods and areas where it is unlawful to fail to remove all nets from pound net sets in commercial fishing operations in internal coastal waters.

(g)  It is unlawful within 30 days of abandonment of a permitted pound net set to fail to remove all stakes and associated gear from coastal fishing waters. The responsible party for abandoned pound net gear may be charged the costs incurred by the Division when the Division undertakes removal of the abandoned pound net gear.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 113-134; 113-169.1; 113-182; 143B-289.52;

Eff. April 1, 2009.