DMF Seeks Input on Call-In Observer Trip Scheduling System
The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) is hosting 5 public outreach meetings to provide updates and gather input on a new automated call-in system that will be used to schedule observer trips for the anchored gill net fishery. The Observer Trip Scheduling System (OTSS) will begin testing this fall.
As most of you know, our state holds two Incidental Take Permits (ITPs) for Atlantic Sturgeon and 5 species of sea turtles. As part of the Conservation Plans developed through the ITP process, DMF must obtain 7%-10% observer coverage of anchored large mesh gill net trips and 1%-2% observer coverage of anchored small mesh gill net trips.
Under the new call-in system, anyone planning to make a fishing trip will need to call-in to declare their intention to make a trip. After a list of planned trips is generated, fishermen from this list will be randomly selected to carry an observer. After selections are made, everyone who called in will be contacted to alert them of their selection status, whether or not to carry an observer.
These public outreach meetings are scheduled to provide an opportunity for members of the public to learn about the OTSS, ask questions, and provide input and comments on the proposed system.
Achieving the required observer coverage in our anchored gill net fisheries is necessary to meet the compliance requirements of our ITPs. Once the new call-in system is fully implemented, DMF will no longer be calling to try schedule observer trips. The responsibility will be on the fisherman. If you want to fish you will have to call-in ahead of time.
All meetings are in person only.
NCDMF Pamlico District Office
943 Washington Square Mall
Hwy 17, Washington
6pm – 8pm
NCDMF Central District Office
5285 Hwy 70 West,
6pm – 8 pm
NCDMF Southern District Office
127 Cardinal Drive Ext.,
6pm – 8pm
NC Cooperative Extension Currituck County Center
120 Community Way,
Barco 6pm – 8pm
Hatteras Community Building
57689 NC Hwy 12
6pm – 8pm
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: 4.24.2023
No committee activity on the two bills referenced last week, but another fish bill was introduced in the House. H-655; “Coastal Fisheries Licensing Reforms” was introduced. NCFA heard rumors about it but we were not consulted in any way and very much opposed to it.
Among other things, commercial licenses would double in cost and the RCGL or Recreational Commercial Gear License would be eliminated. There are also major changes in assigning licenses and reducing the number of licenses in the pool.
The bill was referred to the Wildlife Resources Committee, chaired by Jay Adams who is one of the primary sponsors. If it gets a favorable report there it goes to Marine Resources Committee, chaired by George Cleveland and Vice Chair Celeste Cairns.
I’ll be in Raleigh all week and Glenn will be joining me on Wednesday to speak to the sponsors.
You can see the bill here: