The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission voted Thursday to accept public comment on the draft shrimp fishery management plan amendment 2.
The Division of Marine Fisheries will announce the public comment period and advisory committee meetings in the next few weeks, according to a release.
The draft amendment focuses on reducing bycatch of nontarget species and minimizing habitat impacts. It includes a suite of options ranging from status quo to a complete closure of all inside waters, including Pamlico Sound, to shrimp trawling.
The Marine Fisheries Commission received an update on southern flounder during the meeting as well.
Division Director Kathy Rawls reviewed the updated timeline for amendment 3 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan. Following the amended allocation decision by the commission at the March special meeting the revised draft amendment 3 is scheduled to be reviewed and potentially approved for public and advisory committee review in November. As a result, the seasonal management adopted under Amendment 2 will continue through 2021.
Rawls told the commission the division plans to shorten the commercial and recreational flounder seasons for 2021 because flounder harvest in both sectors in 2019 and 2020 did not meet the reductions approved in the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2.
The division will announce the shortened seasons by news release soon so that flounder fishermen can make plans.
In other business, the commission voted on the following:
- Send a letter to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council expressing its support for maintaining the dolphin for-hire bag limit at 60 fish per vessel and 10 fish per person, using regional bag limits if needed for North Carolina for-hire vessels.
- Approve notice of text to begin the rulemaking process for readopting a slate of rules under a state-mandated periodic review schedule.
- Approve notice of text to begin the rulemaking process for rules to prohibit repacking of foreign crab meat in North Carolina.
- Develop rules to require that any repacked crab meat container used for sale in the State of North Carolina that does not contain 100% domestic crab meat must have a country of origin statement in bolded 18-point type or larger permanently printed on the lid and on two sides of the cup, and that a checkoff panel or stamped country of origin not be allowed.
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