February 6, 2015
State to close more coastal waters
to shellfishing to save money
state closed more than 300,000 acres of water bottom to shellfish
harvests today as a way to save tax dollars spent on water quality
monitoring with little impact to fishermen.
The closures – the
result of funding cuts approved in last year’s state budget – will have
an impact on areas of the Albemarle Sound, Currituck Sound, the upper
Pungo River and the upper Neuse River. These waters have long been
considered non-productive shellfish waters. Environmental conditions,
such as salinity levels, are not conducive to growing oysters and
clams, and little or no shellfish harvest occurs in these waters.
The closures eliminate 80 sampling sites, resulting in about 480 fewer water quality samples taken per year.
associated reduction in staff, office and operation expense will save
the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries about $148,239 per year. The
division closed its Nags Head Shellfish Sanitation office in September
and eliminated two technician positions that were based there. A third
position was shifted to federal funding.
Division staff will
continue to inspect processing plants in northeastern North Carolina.
Staff will also continue collecting samples and conducting shoreline
surveys in areas that are not closed to shellfishing.
addition, staff will continue monitoring high-usage recreational water
quality sites in April through October. The sites that will be
monitored include all ocean beaches from Corolla through Ocracoke, as
well as Jockey’s Ridge and Colington Harbor soundside sites.
because of cuts in funding, the division will no longer sample 36
other, low-usage sound-side sites in Currituck, Albemarle, Croatan and
A map of recreational water quality sampling
sites that will still be tested can be found at
delineating waters that are newly closed to shellfish harvest can be
found at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/01-2015-pa-map-examples.
detailed maps of open and closed shellfish harvesting areas can be
found at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/shellfish-closure-maps.
For a list of the waters that are closing the shellfish harvest and their coordinates, see proclamation PA-PC-2015 at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations-polluted-areas.