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The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission is set to give final approval of 20 proposed rules when it meets later this month in Beaufort.

The rules pertain to data collection and harassment prevention for the conservation of marine and estuarine resources, oyster sanctuary changes and conforming changes for the shellfish relay program, shellfish leases and franchises, and shellfish sanitation.

The in-person meeting is scheduled for May 22-24 in the Beaufort Hotel at 2440 Lennoxville Road. The meeting is also to be livestreamed on YouTube. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, and at 9 a.m. on both Thursday, May 23, and Friday, May 24.

That commission had received public comments during its November meeting and gave
final approval to 83 of 103 rules related to shellfish plants and inspections to meet
readoption deadlines. Another 80 rules became effective April 1. Three rules were automatically subject to legislative review and are available for review during the current legislative session. The remaining 20 are on the agenda for final approval this month.

The commission is to hold public comment sessions at 6 p.m. May 22 and at 9 a.m. May 23.

In-person attendees who wish to speak may sign up at the hotel before the public comment period in which they wish to speak. To accommodate as many speakers as possible, the chair will limit each speaker to 3 minutes.

Those making comments will be asked to speak only once, either Wednesday night or Thursday morning, but not during both public comment periods. Those who wish to submit handouts to the commission during a public comment period should bring at least 12 copies to the meeting.

The public may also submit written comments via an online form accessible through the Marine Fisheries Commission Meetings webpage; by mail to May 2024 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.

The deadline to submit written comments for the May meeting is 4 p.m. Monday, May 20.

The YouTube link is posted on the Marine Fisheries Commission Meetings webpage. After the meeting, a recording will be posted online.

In addition to the above-mentioned rules, agenda items include the following:

  • Final adoption of the Striped Mullet Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2.
  • A presentation on the authority for shellfish cultivation in North Carolina and the administration of shellfish leases and franchises.
  • A presentation on the 2023 Blue Crab Stock Assessment Update and available adaptive management measures under the Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan Amendment 3 to be developed later this year for implementation in 2025.
  • Endorsement of a management option and associated proposed language for future rulemaking to comply with the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, a reciprocal program between states that promotes compliance with wildlife and fisheries regulations.

The full agenda and briefing book are posted on the Marine Fisheries Commission Meetings webpage.

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