Three New Inshore Fishing Reefs/Oyster Sanctuary Sites

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold public meetings in July to receive comments on locations for three new inshore fishing reefs/oyster sanctuary sites.

The division’s Oyster Sanctuary Program has received a Coastal Recreational Fishing License grant to construct three inshore fishing reefs/oyster sanctuaries in the Cedar Island, Cape Fear River and Manteo areas. The goal is to increase angling opportunities in North Carolina by creating and protecting sub-tidal oyster reefs with easy access for the recreational angler.

The reefs will be made with different types of concrete structures. These materials will attract oyster larvae, as well as clams, juvenile fish, crabs and other marine organisms, which in turn, will attract larger fish, enhancing hook-and-line fishing.

The reefs will also serve as a brood stock for oysters. Harvest of oysters and the use of bottom disturbing gear are prohibited on the reefs. But the oysters that grow there will produce millions of eggs annually that will be carried by currents and tides to surrounding areas that are open to oyster harvest.

At each location, this project will construct a reef on 10 acres of soft bottom. Interested parties are invited to attend the following meetings and provide advice and input regarding the placement of the reefs:

The meeting for the Cedar Island reef site is set for 6 p.m. July 17 at the Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office, 5285 Highway 70 West, Morehead City;

The meeting for the Cape Fear River reef site is set for 6 p.m. July 18 at the Division of Marine Fisheries Southern District Office, 127 Cardinal Drive, Wilmington;

The meeting for the Manteo reef site is set for 6 p.m. July 24 at the Division of Marine Fisheries Field Office, 1021 Driftwood Drive, Manteo.

For more information, contact Pelle Holmlund, with the division’s Resource Enhancement Section, at 252-808-8055 orPelle.Holmlund@ncdenr.gov.