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Virginia and North Carolina Large Mesh Gillnet Final Rule


Final Rule
Endangered Species Act
Action Status
Final Rule


The purpose of this action is to reduce the impact of large-mesh gillnet fisheries on endangered and threatened species of sea turtles, primarily the monkfish fishery which uses large-mesh gillnet gear and operates in the area when sea turtles are present.

Large mesh gillnet regulations were enacted to protect both sea turtles and bottlenose dolphin. To protect sea turtles, gillnets with stretched mesh 7 inches (17.8 cm) or larger are prohibited in the Atlantic Exclusive Economic Zone during the following time periods and in the following areas: (i) Waters north of 33° 51.0′ N. (North Carolina/South Carolina border at the coast) and south of 35° 46.0′ N. (Oregon Inlet) at any time; (ii) Waters north of 35° 46.0′ N. (Oregon Inlet) and south of 36° 22.5′ N. (Currituck Beach Light, NC) from March 16 through January 14; (iii) Waters north of 36° 22.5′ N. (Currituck Beach Light, NC) and south of 37° 34.6′ N. (Wachapreague Inlet, VA) from April 1 through January 14; and (iv) Waters north of 37° 34.6′ N. (Wachapreague Inlet, VA) and south of 37° 56.0′ N. (Chincoteague, VA) from April 16 through January 14.

Last updated by Office of Protected Resources on 11/10/2022

Sea Turtle Bycatch