North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission members are scheduled to vote on suspending a rule that would help protect shellfish and on amendments to striped mullet and spotted seatrout fishery management plans during an in-person meeting later this month in Beaufort.
The meeting at the Beaufort Hotel, 2440 Lennoxville Road, is set to begin at 6 p.m. May 24, and at 9 a.m. both May 25 and May 26. The meeting will be livestreamed on YouTube. A link will be posted on the Marine Fisheries Commission webpage and a recording will be available after the meeting.
The Division of Marine Fisheries recently put in place a shellfish relocation permit. The proclamation SF-5-2023 signed May 4 requires a permit to relocate shellfish found in areas closed to harvest where shellfish would be destroyed due to dredging, construction or other development to designated relocation sites.
Commission members are being asked to vote on suspending indefinitely their rule that a person applying for the shellfish relocation permit must have a valid standard or retired standard commercial fishing license with a shellfish endorsement or a shellfish license.
Suspending subsection (4) of section (e) in procedures and requirements to obtain permits will allow for the “new Shellfish Relocation Permit established by Proclamation SF-5-2023 to be fully utilized,” according to the division.
Additionally, members are to consider adopting supplement A to amendment 1 of the Striped Mullet Fishery Management Plan, and the goal and objectives for the Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan Amendment 1.
Also on the agenda is a vote on a notice of text for 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.
The proposed rules then go out for public hearing.
The commission is scheduled to hear updates on false albacore data and the estuarine striped bass stock assessment, presentations on allocation use as a fisheries management tool, and blue crab fisheries management plan amendment 3 adaptive management revision.
The commission will hold in-person public comment sessions at 6 p.m. May 24, and near the beginning of the meeting May 25. The public can sign up at the hotel before either comment period. Bring at least 12 copies of any handouts for commission members. To accommodate as many speakers as possible, the chair will limit each speaker to three minutes.
To submit written comments online, use the form on the Marine Fisheries Commission Meetings webpage. To send comments by mail, address the envelope to May 2023 Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557, or drop the comments off at the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Morehead City headquarters office at 3441 Arendell St., Morehead City.
The deadline to submit written comments for this meeting is 4 p.m. Monday, May 22.