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North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries
3441 Arendell St.
Morehead City, NC

(252) 808-8025

This state agency is charged with stewardship of marine and estuarine resources in coastal creeks, bays, rivers, sounds and the ocean within 3 miles of land. This state agency carries out the policies set by the nine-member Marine Fisheries Commission and the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The DMF has a marine patrol section that works in law enforcement districts along the North Carolina coast. Their job is to protect the state's fisheries resources and to make sure people comply with conservation regulations. Officers also inspect seafood houses, fish dealers and restaurants that buy or sell North Carolina seafood.

Artificial reefs have gained popular support in recent years — artificial reef organizations, sport-fishing clubs, diving clubs, local governments and civic organizations are all interested in their construction, management, and evaluation. The DMF is in charge of the state's Artificial Reef Program, which has 41 ocean sites and eight estuarine sites. The ocean sites range from one mile to 38 nautical miles from Beaufort Inet. There are 13 inshore fishing/oyster reefs. The ocean sites range is one of the most active artificial reef programs in the country and receives funding from the groups noted above as well as from the state legislature.

Other sections of the DMF conduct fisheries and gear research, collect and process the catch statistics of all commercial and recreational fisheries monitor fisheries for interactions with protected resources, monitor water quality for shellfish harvest and recreational activities, map shellfish waters, administer a shellfish leasing program, and review and comment on environment permit applications that impact marine resources. The DMF also administers the popular North Carolina Saltwater Tournament and the Governor's Cup Conservation Billfish Tournament series. And, last but not least, DMF sells recreational fishing licenses, required for anyone 16 or older.


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