Articles in regional publications that pertain to a wide range of North Carolina-related topics.
for Coastwatch Vol. Issue , Spring 2007
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Green reports on a North Carolina Sea Grant study that seeks to determine how oyster larvae move about. The study focuses on the American oyster, which often faces constantly changing and harsh conditions in the state's sounds and rivers. Each oyster produces millions of eggs annually that move by currents and tides to the surrounding areas. Protecting this broodstock increases the availability of native oysters. Preliminary movement data indicate that estuarine currents usually follow the wind's direction, which is probably the same pattern for larvae. Knowing where the larvae will be in certain areas aids in the building of new oyster sanctuaries and in the deployment of materials to support those areas.
Sea turtles emerged around 110 million years ago. At their peak there were four families of them, each with several dozen species. Today, only two families survive. Amanda Southwood, a sea turtle researcher at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, received a North Carolina Fishery Resource Grant in 2006 to study sea turtle movements. The turtles studied are those that have become entangled in fishing nets in the lower Cape Fear River then released. Without satellite and high-frequency tags to track the turtles, there is no way to know if the released animal survived or not.
The National Marine Fisheries Service permanently closed Pamlico Sound's deep-water area to large gill net commercial fishing from September to mid-December 2002. The closing was because of sea turtle strandings and their interaction with gill nets. The closing was also detrimental to Hyde County fishermen. A North Carolina Fishery Resource Grant study examines Hyde County fishermen's use of experimental nets that are designed to produce a good flounder catch but avoid or reduce sea turtle entanglements.
The North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation in 2006 establishing the North Carolina Waterfront Access Study Committee. Access to water along the state's coastline is a hot topic, because piers, boat ramps, and other access points are being sold to developers. Getting to the water is becoming more difficult for the average citizen. The committee has held meetings in Manteo, Morehead City, and Wilmington, and 275 people have attended. Mosher discusses concerns and suggestions citizens offered to the committee.