Fisheries commission approves 18 Coastal Recreational Fishing License grants
MOREHEAD CITY – Revenues from the N.C. Coastal Recreational Fishing License will pay $1.5 million in the coming year toward projects to help provide coastal fishing access and fisheries and habitat research.
The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission approved 18 grants, totaling $1,551,613, for the 2015 cycle. The grants are funded from the N.C. Marine Resources Fund, which receives revenues from the sale of the Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses.
The grants are sorted into three focus areas. Grants that fall under the People Focus Area include public education and public water access projects. Grants that fall under the Fish Focus area are fisheries research projects. Grants that fall under the Habitat Focus area include projects that enhance, protect or research fisheries habitat.
Seven grants in the People Focus Area totaled $661,016. Details on the awards are as follows:
· N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Wrights Creek Boating Access Area – $400,000 . One-year grant to renovate an old boat ramp off Wilkins Road on Wrights Creek in Beaufort County.
· Take a Kid Fishing Foundation – $25,000 . Three-year grant to provide disabled and disadvantaged youth an opportunity to go saltwater fishing while teaching them about ethical fishing practices, conservation and the ocean environment.
· N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, Marine Patrol Education Team – $28,650. One-year grant to provide educational equipment and resources to the Marine Patrol.
· N.C. Aquariums, Step by Step: Encouraging Ethical Angling – $11,682. One-year grant to provide ethical angling programs at the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island and Jennette’s Pier.
· N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, Saltwater Fishing Tournament – $21,500. Four-year grant to improve this program, which recognizes recreational anglers for exceptional catches of marine finfish.
· N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, Fishing Digest – $36,750. Two-year grant to continue the annual publication for the Coastal Recreational Fishing Digest.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Improving the Fish Production of Artificial Reefs by Testing the Most Widely Recognized and Pressing Questions About Reef Design and Function –$137,434. Two-year grant to assess how artificial reefs function to help the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries continue enhancing, restoring, managing, protecting, and developing these reefs.
Six grants in the Fish Focus Area totaled $462,461. Details on the awards are as follows:
· N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, Full Time Law Enforcement Officer – $204,600. Two-year grant to fund salary and purchase equipment for a law enforcement officer.
· N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, Improving Water Temperature Data Recording for Monitoring Spotted Seatrout Cold Stun Events – $17,675. Three-year grant to begin a statewide water temperature logging program.
· N.C. State University, Marine Fisheries Fellowship Program – $50,822. Five-year grant that pairs master’s and doctorate degree students or recent graduates with biologists at the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.
· N.C. State University, Evaluation of Changes in Available Spawning and Nursery Habitats for River Herring – $42,947. Two-year grant to track population growth of river herring.
· N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, Temporary Telecommunication Position – $40,499. Two-year grant to fund temporary telecommunication employee.
· East Carolina University, Cooperative Winter Tagging Cruise – $105,918. One-year grant to continue tagging program.
Five grants in the Habitat Focus Area totaled $428,136. Details on the awards are as follows:
East Carolina University Submerged Aquatic Vegetation SONAR Mapping Surveys in Low-Salinity Habitats – $51,432. One-year grant to use long-shore rapid assessment survey techniques to obtain maps in areas of submerged aquatic vegetation.
· University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Understanding and Predicting Salinity Variability and Hypoxic Exposure in Fish Habitats in the Lower Neuse River Estuary – $98,488. Two-year grant to quantify and develop predictive models for salinity variability and the frequency and duration of hypoxic conditions.
· East Carolina University Linking Water Quality, Food Quality, and Larval Fish Condition to Determine Strategic Habitat Area Quality – $81,371. Four-year grant to determine strategic habitat area contribution to increased fish production.
· University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Quantifying Fish Enhancement and Erosion Protection Provided by Marsh Sills: A Living Shoreline Alternative to Bulkheads and Revetments – $89,908. Two-year grant to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the recreational fish habitat services and erosion protection provided by marsh sills in comparison to revetments, bulkheads, and naturally occurring marshes
· University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Enhancing the Quality of Fish Habitat and Quantity of Oysters by Refining Reef-Restoration Techniques – $106,937. Three-year grant to provide important guidelines for intertidal and subtidal reef restoration that will maximize the quality of the fish habitat.
For more information on these grants or the Coastal Recreational Fishing License grant program, contact Beth Govoni, Coastal Recreational Fishing License grants coordinator, at 252-808-8004 or Beth.Govoni@ncdenr.gov.