ARCHIVE | January, 2011

Reef Restoration in New Bern

On the same day evidence showing the destruction of striped bass was made public, other cameras recorded individuals working to improve marine habitat in our estuarine waters. A lot of species will benefit from their efforts, particularly striped bass.

On Wednesday, Jan. 19, motorists on the Neuse River bridge in New Bern might have noticed a large, gray, motorized barge and a couple of smaller vessels in the river a short distance downstream. The barge was the West Bay and it was loaded with tons of limestone rock (marl) which was being dumped in the river to create “structure” for the marine creatures that live there. The rock provides hard surfaces on which vegetation and small, benthic organisms can establish themselves. That, in turn, attracts crabs, small fish and other species near the bottom the food chain. Those farther up the ladder, including striped bass, are drawn to the aquatic cornucopia.

The North Carolina chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA-NC) donated the marl, valued at $20,000. Its dispersal and the extensive planning involved were handled by the NC Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF). Some of their personnel were on hand Wednesday, marking exactly where the rock was to be dumped and supervising the activities. Jim Hardin of Greenville, president of CCA-NC, was there recording the event on film.

The marl being deposited in the Neuse will be in 125 mounds over 11.4 acres in an area designated as Artificial Reef 392 (AR392). It is part of a larger project designed to refurbish a reef that was initially established in the 1970s using old automobile tires.

Two other parts of the project will involve spreading 15 tons of concrete pipe throughout two “pipe fields” over 10.5 acres, and placing 500 “reef balls” on 8.5 acres of barren river bottom. The latter are man-made, hollow, concrete spheres about three of four feet in diameter. Scientists have determined that they, along with other durable, environmentally friendly material like the pipe and the rock, help create valuable habitat in water bodies where it may not exist naturally. Fish, and ultimately fishermen, benefit.

Stephen Ammons, executive director of CCA-NC, said most of the money that organization provided for the reef project came from CCA?s annual Inside & Out Fishing Tournament, private donations and a fund established in memory of Donald Willis, Sr. Willis was an ardent conservationist and owner/operator of Custom Marine Fabrication and Sports in New Bern.
“Donald Sr. was very involved in the fishing community and there were many people in the area who helped us raise funds in his memory,” Ammons noted.

AR392 is one of 48 artificial reefs maintained by the Division of Marine Fisheries along the state’s coast. Most are in the ocean, with the largest number (21) being located between Cape Lookout and Cape Fear. Seven are Estuarine Reefs. A complete listing of the state’s artificial reefs, including their locations (coordinates for those offshore), construction and other information can be found on the NC Division of Marine Fisheries web site (www.ncfisheries.net) under “Quick Links.”

Article edited with permission by Ed Wall


State to Close Spotted Seatrout Harvest Due to Cold Stun Events

On Jan 12, 2011 North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Director Louis Daniel issued a proclamation that closes the harvest of Spotted Sea Trout to both commercial and recreational fishing for an indefinite period beginning at noon on Friday January 14, 2011. This closure is in response the recent cold stun events observed in NC coastal and joint waters. Cold stun events occur when water temperatures drop very low, stay cold for long periods, or the temperature changes occur quickly. Trout can be stunned and float to the surface or die from the cold shock. Trout that are stunned can survive if water temperatures increase. Mortality from cold stun has a major impact on trout populations in NC.

CCA NC applauds the Director’s decision and recognizes the diligence and hard work of biologist Beth Burns and other NCDMF staff members. DMF staff has been out on the water during the recent holidays and extremely cold weather investigating and observing the effects of water temperatures on Spotted Sea Trout (locally called Speckled Trout).

Spotted Sea Trout are currently over-fished and over-fishing is occurring according to the Spotted Sea Trout Fishery Management Plan that is nearing completion. “The Speckled Trout population is in trouble from over-fishing and with consecutive years with cold stun events it is wise to close the fishery to aid recovery. CCA NC is pleased that Dr. Daniel has closed the fishery and it is our hope that the closure will have a positive affect on the trout population.,” stated Jim Hardin, President of CCA NC. “It is a critical to protect the SST stock and now the length of the closure needs to be determined. In addition, the Marine Fisheries Commission will need to decide if more restrictive harvest limits should be implemented upon reopening the fishery”, Hardin further stated, “I’m hearing from many people that they believe the closure should last throughout the entire spawning season that includes spring and summer”.

CCA NC is the North Carolina chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association. CCA is a non-profit organization whose objective is to conserve, promote, and enhance the present and future availability of coastal marine resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public. For more information regarding CCA NC contact Stephen Ammons, Executive Director at 919-781-3474.

Below is the NC Division of Marine Fisheries proclamation.

State to Close Spotted Seatrout Harvest Due to Cold Stun Events

MOREHEAD CITY – North Carolina will close all coastal waters to commercial and recreational spotted seatrout harvest for an indefinite period beginning at noon Friday.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Director Louis Daniel issued a proclamation today implementing the closure, after consulting with N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Chairman Rob Bizzell.

The action is being taken in response to recent cold stun events in Rose Bay, Juniper Bay, Pungo River, Campbell Creek, Turnigan Bay, Spooners Creek and other waters. The intent of the closure is to prevent the harvest of vulnerable cold stunned fish, which may recover with warming temperatures.

“On the heels of two cold stun events, one in 2010 and now in 2011, and pretty large commercial and recreational catch rates in 2009, I believe this is the best thing for the fishery,” Daniel said.

In approving the Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan in November, the Marine Fisheries Commission authorized Daniel to temporarily close harvest in the event of a cold stun event. The commission will review the closure and consider extending it at is Feb. 11 meeting in Pine Knoll Shores.

For more information, contact division biologist Beth Burns at (252) 473-5734, extension 221, or Beth.Burns@ncdenr.gov.


CCA Legislative Day

Thursday, February 17, 2011

CCA NC is organizing a special day for visiting our legislators in Raleigh on Thursday, February 17, 2011. Please mark your calendars and make plans to join us. Our goal is to visit every member of the General Assembly on this day. Come to Raleigh and help us place our agenda in front of our legislators.

During this meeting, we will discuss our agenda and distribute information packets to be left with each Representative or Senator. We want to visit every Senator and every Representative! We wish to make sure they know who CCA is and the legislative agenda we are supporting. The information packet provided will include a separate sheet on each of our issues that explains our position clearly and concisely.

We will meet at 7:30 AM at the Legislative cafeteria to host a breakfast for the Marine Resource Committee, Agriculture & Environmental Committee, and the NC Sportsman Caucus. The visits with all the representatives will begin at 9:00 am and last until about 12:00 pm when we will meet in the Legislative auditorium to recap the day.
The Legislative building is located at 16 West Jones Street across from the State Capitol. The cafeteria is located downstairs. Please join us promptly at 7:30 am so you can mingle with the representatives of each committee.

North Carolina Legislative Building
16 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

Parking: Pass the Legislative Building and turn left on North Wilmington. Merge left at the end of the block and you will essentially turn around onto North Salisbury Street. Visitor parking is located at the third parking deck on the right (Deck #75). The Legislative Office Building and the Legislative Building are located on the left side of the road.

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