MOREHEAD CITY | A new regulation for shrimp trawl gear will go into effect Jan. 1 for North Carolina’s rivers, creeks and sounds.

The regulation sets a maximum combined shrimp trawl headrope length of 220 feet for all internal coastal waters where there are no existing headrope length requirements, according to a Division of Marine Fisheries news release.

The headrope is the top line of the net that acts as the support structure for the trawl webbing. Its length is measured from the outermost mesh knot at one end of the webbing support structure of a trawl following along the line to the outermost mesh knot at the opposite end of the support structure.

The rule implements a provision of Amendment 1 to the North Carolina Shrimp Fishery Management Plan, adopted by the Marine Fisheries Commission in February 2015.

The management strategy was put into place to put a cap on fleet capacity. The Marine Fisheries Commission allowed a two-year phase-out period for vessels using more than 220 feet of combined headrope.