The public comment period ends Oct. 1 on proposed amendments related to commercial crustacea processing, which includes prohibiting repacking foreign crab meat in North Carolina.
North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission is accepting public comment on these and other proposed amendments as well as the readoption of 56 rules under a state-mandated periodic review schedule.
Most rules relate to sanitation standards for commercial crustacea processing procedures and contain minor updates. Amendments to three of these rules prohibit the repacking of foreign crab meat in North Carolina.
A public hearing will be held by web conference at 6 p.m. Aug. 18. The public can join the meeting online. Register for the online public hearing to be held by web conference.
Those who wish to comment during the hearing must register to speak by noon Aug. 18. Written comments can be submitted by Oct. 1 either online .or through the mail to N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rules Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557.
Following recent developments in North Carolina where foreign crab meat was fraudulently marketed and sold as domestic blue crab, the commission began rulemaking to prohibit the repacking of foreign crab meat in the state to prevent future fraud and improve consumer confidence moving forward, state officials said.
Other changes to rules pertaining to interjurisdictional species remove harvest requirements that are out of date, relying on proclamations instead to respond to interstate and federal management changes. Several rules about general requirements and fishing gears are proposed for readoption with no changes.
The proposed rule changes will be presented to the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission for final approval in February of next year and have an earliest effective date of April 1, 2022.