MOREHEAD CITY, NC - North Carolina fisheries officials are trying to protect Flipper by banning people from fishing with nets within 100 yards of beaches along most of the state's coast.
The effort to protect bottlenose dolphins takes effect Sunday.
The new rule bans small-mesh gill nets within 100 yards of most beaches. Exceptions are for Bogue Banks between Cape Lookout and Bogue Inlet and between Carolina Beach Inlet and the South Carolina line.
The nets hang vertically in the water and allow a fish's head to pass through the meshes before snaring its gills when it tries to back out. The ban was recommended after a national fisheries team found the nets injure and kill bottlenose dolphin at high levels.
The restriction applies to nets with a meshes 5 inches or smaller.