The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission is expected to vote on adopting amendments to the mutilated finfish rule, as well as amendments to a marinas, mooring areas, and other docking facilities rule during its quarterly meeting Feb. 22-24 in New Bern.
The three-day, in-person meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22; at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 23; and at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New Bern Riverfront, 100 Middle St. The meeting will also be livestreamed on YouTube.
The proposed amendments to the mutilated finfish rule “would provide flexibility to manage variable conditions for the use of finfish as cut bait by simplifying the rule such that only species subject to a possession limit are subject to the requirements unless otherwise specified in a commission rule or a proclamation issued under the authority of a commission rule,” according to meeting materials.
Regarding the marinas, mooring areas, and other docking facilities rule, the proposed amendments “would help ensure that North Carolina remains in full compliance with national requirements, allow the DMF to determine necessary buffer closures based on a more scientific and public health-based rationale, and make implementation and enforceability clearer,” according to meeting materials.
The commission is also expected to consider the adoption of Supplement A to Amendment 1 of the Striped Mullet Fishery Management Plan.
Also during the meeting, the commission is to consider a number of proposed rules related to data collection and harassment prevention for the conservation of marine and estuarine resources; oyster sanctuary rule changes; and conforming rule changes for shellfish relay program and shellfish leases and franchises. Fisheries staff are to prepare rulemaking items based on the commission’s selection for a later meeting.
There are also presentations on false albacore, protected resources, and spotted seatrout, and an update on southern flounder on the schedule.
The in-person public comment sessions are to begin at 6 p.m. Feb. 22, and near the beginning of the meeting Feb. 23. To speak during the meeting, sign up at the hotel before the public comment period.
To accommodate as many speakers as possible, the chair will limit each speaker to three minutes. Speakers are being asked to speak at only one of the two public comment periods.
If submitting handouts to the commission during a public comment period, speakers should bring at least 12 copies to the meeting.
Written comments may be submitted by 4 p.m. Feb. 20 through an online form on the Marine Fisheries Commission Meetings webpage; by mail addressed to: February 2023 Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557; or dropped off at the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Morehead City Headquarters Office at 3441 Arendell St., Morehead City.
The YouTube link will be posted on the Marine Fisheries Commission Meetings webpage. After the meeting, a recording will be posted online.
The full agenda and briefing book are posted on the Marine Fisheries Commission Meetings webpage.
The Marine Fisheries Commission is a nine-member board appointed by the governor made up of commercial and recreational fishermen, commercial fishing industry and sport fishing industry representatives, a scientist , and two at-large members.
The Division of Marine Fisheries staff conducts management, enforcement, research, monitoring, statistics, and licensing programs to provide information on which to base decisions on rule making. The Department of Environmental Quality oversees the Marine Fisheries Commission and the Division of Marine Fisheries.