North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries officials are holding public meetings and accepting comments Sept. 11-22 on potential management strategies for the eastern oyster and hard clam.
The division announced Tuesday it is developing Amendment 5 to the N.C. Eastern Oyster Fishery Management Plan and Amendment 3 to the N.C. Hard Clam Fishery Management Plan.
Management strategies under consideration for Eastern Oyster Amendment 5 are divided by reef type and location. Management strategies under consideration for Hard Clam Amendment 3 pertain to mechanical harvest and maintenance dredging.
Stock assessments are not available for these species due to data limitations. A potential management strategy for both amendments could address data gaps pertaining to recreational effort and catch, officials said.
Public scoping meetings are scheduled along the coast on the following dates:
- Sept. 11: Dare County Administration Building in Manteo.
- Sept. 18: NCDEQ Washington Regional Office in Washington.
- Sept. 19: Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington.
- Sept. 21: Division of Marine Fisheries, Central District Office in Morehead City.
The public can attend the Sept. 21 meeting via web conference.
All meetings will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. During this time, division staff will give a short presentation, and then the public will have the opportunity to provide comments. Following the public comment period, attendees will get time to discuss subject matter insights or concerns directly with species leads.
Beginning Sept. 11, the public may provide feedback through the eastern oyster online form and hard clam online form, or submit written comments by mail to N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, Shellfish Scoping, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. Sept. 22.