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Public comment opens for shrimp fishery management plan

The public has until June 30 to submit comments on proposed shrimp fishery management changes aimed to further…

The public has until June 30 to submit comments on proposed shrimp fishery management changes aimed to further reduce bycatch of nontarget species and minimize ecosystem impacts, the state Division of Marine Fisheries announced Tuesday.

Draft amendment 2 to the shrimp fishery management plan contains a suite of management options that range from current management practices to a complete closure to shrimp trawling of all inside waters, including Pamlico Sound, according to the division.

The options in the draft amendment include area closures to protect submerged aquatic vegetation or oyster beds, shrimp management of special secondary nursery areas, creating permanent or seasonal closures in the Pamlico Sound region, shrimp trawl gear modifications, and shrimp trawl effort limitations.

Draft shrimp amendment 2 also includes a shrimp trawl bycatch information paper which discusses data needs to estimate the amount of bycatch from the shrimp trawl fishery, methods for estimating bycatch reduction and impacts on common bycatch species. Additionally, one objective of the plan is to evaluate and address nursery area designations through the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan.

There are three ways to comment on draft shrimp amendment 2.

The public can sign up to speak at the following committees that will meet by web conference:

  • Joint Northern and Southern Regional Advisory Committees 6 p.m. June 15. Register to speak by 5 p.m. June 14
  • Joint Shellfish/Crustacean and Finfish Advisory Committees 6 p.m. June 16. Register to speak by 5 p.m. June 15.
  • Habitat and Water Quality Advisory Committee 5 p.m. June 17. Register to speak by 5 p.m. June 16.

Comments also will be accepted through an online form until 5 p.m. June 30.

Written comments may be mailed to Draft Shrimp FMP Amendment 2 Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. June 30.

Emailed comments will not be accepted.

Meeting links and agendas are available on the Marine Fisheries Commission Advisory Committees Meetings webpage.

More specifics on the Draft Shrimp Amendment 2 can be found on the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 Information webpage.

The Marine Fisheries Commission is scheduled to consider public comment and advisory committee input and select its preferred management measures for departmental and legislative review at its August business meeting and give final approval of the amendment in November 2021.

For more information contact division biologists Chris Stewart at Chris.Stewart@ncdenr.gov or 910-796-7291, Jason Rock at Jason.Rock@ncdenr.gov or 252-808-8091, or Daniel Zapf at Daniel.Zapf@ncdenr.gov or 252-946-6481.

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