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Commercial Fishing Resource Funding committees to meet April 26

The N.C. Commercial Fishing Resource Funding Committee will meet jointly with the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Commercial Fishing Resource Funding Committee at 10:30 a.m. April 26 at the Department of Environmental Quality’s Washington Regional Office, 943 Washington Square Mall, Washington.  
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New recreational cobia regulations take effect May 1

New size and bag limits will go into effect May 1 for the recreational cobia fishery in North Carolina waters.

The minimum size limit will increase to 36 inches fork length (measured from the tip of snout to the fork in the tail). The possession limit will decrease to one fish per-person per-day, with a maximum of four fish per-vessel per-day, if four or more people are on board a vessel.    Read more



Outer Banks Angling: Spring is upon us

It’s very surreal sitting here and typing an article for the first time for the Island Free Press, since the passing of Irene Nolan.

If someone was to ask any of my teachers if I would've been writing for any reason in my later years, they probably would have chuckled… and so would I. Irene got me motivated to write about fishing, and it is something that I will never forget. 
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Sens. Cook, Sanderson File Resolution for Revisions to Federal Shellfish Regs

Senator Bill Cook (R-District 1) and Senator Norman W. Sanderson (R-District 2) recently filed Senate Joint Resolution 205, which encourages the Wilmington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allow shellfish cultivation and aquaculture activities in North Carolina waters containing submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). 
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Study: Seismic Testing Disrupts Fish Behavior

Almost anyone who’s thrown a hook in the water to catch a fish in a quiet atmosphere probably knows intuitively that loud noises spook them: you don’t scream at fish to bite, after all, you wait patiently.

But intuition isn’t science, and seismic airguns don’t make just any loud noise, so when University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences doctoral student Avery Paxton and some colleagues got the opportunity to do some real science on an issue that’s germane to the hot topic of oil and gas exploration by seismic surveys, they jumped at the chance. 
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Recreational flounder bag limit reduced to four fish

The recreational flounder bag limit will decrease from six fish to four fish per person, per day in North Carolina waters beginning March 1.

The recreational size limit will remain at 15 inches. 
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Marine Fisheries Commission approves controversial petition

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission voted 5 to 3 with one abstention on Thursday morning to approve a rulemaking petition that, under its proposed restrictions, would designate all coastal waters as nursery areas and put greater limits on shrimp trawling.

The Feb. 16 vote came during a commission meeting held in Wilmington and followed several hours of arguments both for and against the petition that was submitted last November by the N.C. Wildlife Federation.
  
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Outer Banks Angling: Looking ahead to 2017 cobia regs

In 2016, an unprecedented moratorium was imposed on these fish. It left mid-Atlantic states scrambling to either join or abandon the proposed rule that prevented the harvest of cobia beyond the 3-mile mark where state waters end and federal waters begin. It led to many changes in the recreational and charter harvest of these fish within state waters. What might 2017 hold? 
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UPDATE:  All five advisory panels vote against shrimp petition

At a meeting in New Bern yesterday, all five of the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission advisory panels voted to recommend that the MFC deny a petition from the N.C. Wildlife Foundation to strengthen shrimp trawl regulations.

However, the fight to preserve shrimp trawling in North Carolina sounds and ocean waters is not over yet.
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UPDATE:
Amendment to shrimp-trawling petition modifies proposals

An amendment has been filed to a petition for rulemaking calling for habitat protections that, if adopted, would impact shrimp trawl fishing in most North Carolina waters.  The amendment to the petition was submitted on Jan. 12 by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, the environmental group that originally filed the petition for rulemaking, to the Marine Fisheries Commission.
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Petition calls for more limits on shrimp trawling


Shrimpers in North Carolina had a great year in 2016, likely because of unseasonably warm inshore waters into the winter. But a proposed tightening of shrimp trawling regulations could dash hopes of future such windfalls.
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Bonner Bridge work brings beneficial reef projects

If fishing reefs are the underwater version of condominiums, then the waters here will soon be the trendy new neighborhood for marine life.

Construction of a living shoreline reef is underway, to be followed in a few years by restoration of four existing reefs with demolished bridge material. And an entirely new reef is also being planned nearby in state waters, thanks to a grant funded by fishing license fees. 
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Frank & Fran's is changing hands, but Frank won't be gone for good

Frank & Fran’s, an iconic Avon tackle shop that’s been luring anglers for nearly 30 years,  will have new owners soon, but Frank Folb, the store’s co-owner who is arguably just as recognized as the shop itself, will still be around from time to time, so the new owners can make the transition as smooth as possible for regular customers. 
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The very best guide to charter fishing on the islands….WITH SLIDE SHOW

If you’ve never been fishing off Hatteras or Ocracoke, it’s definitely worth looking into.  The variety of trips, boats, captains, and species of fish available is quite impressive, and there are options that can accommodate almost any budget or interest.

That said, with so many options available, choosing the right charter can be a daunting task, especially for first-timers. To make it a little bit easier, The Island Free Press has compiled a guide to Hatteras and Ocracoke charter fishing.  With answers to frequently asked questions, information on everything from choosing a boat to cleaning your fish, advice on making your trip more enjoyable, and pictures to rouse your inner angler, this guide is designed help get you off the docks and on the water. 
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