State officials said an amended rule that took effect Thursday puts in place a scientific approach to determine necessary buffer closures for waters in and around marinas where shellfish are grown.
Division of Marine Fisheries staff will use dilution analysis instead of the slip-count method to determine the volume of water necessary to dilute the concentration of fecal coliform bacteria to less than 14 most probable number, or MPN.
The dilution analysis detailed in the amended rule is a more scientific and public health-based rationale than the previously used slip count method, that had specific footage requirements for buffer closures based on the number of slips present and other physical characteristics of the marina.
Changes are to ensure that the state remains in full compliance with National Shellfish Sanitation Program requirements so that North Carolina shellfish can continue to be sold through interstate commerce, and make implementation and enforceability of requirements clearer, according to the division.
The Marine Fisheries Commission in February gave final approval to the rule, which was amended and readopted under the state-mandated periodic review schedule.
Text of the amendment to the Marinas, Docking Facilities, and Other Mooring Areas rule is in the June 1, 2023, Supplement to North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission Rules April 1, 2020.
For more information, contact Catherine Blum, rules coordinator for the Division of Marine Fisheries, at email@example.com.