N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will vote on Southern flounder amendment

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will meet Aug. 21-23 at the Doubletree by Hilton University Brownstone, 1707 Hillsborough St., Raleigh.

 The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Aug. 21, at 9 a.m. Aug. 22, and at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 23.

 Public comment periods will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 21 and at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 22. Members of the public may speak to the commission on any fisheries-related topic. The chairman will allow each speaker to comment for three minutes. More time may be allotted, at the chairman’s discretion, depending on the number who sign up to speak. Those making comments will be asked to speak only once, either at the Aug. 21 or the Aug. 22 session, but not during both public comment periods.

 The deadline for submitting written comments to the commission, including email, through the Marine Fisheries Commission Office, is at 5 p.m. Aug. 16. Those who wish to forego this process and give handouts to the commission during the public comment period should bring at least 12 copies of the handout.

 The public may listen to the meeting online. Up to 200 participants may listen to audio and view presentations in real-time on a first-come, first-served basis. Directions for participating in the webcast, including information on system requirements and testing, can be found here.  Following the meeting, an audio recording will be posted online.

 The commission is scheduled to:

  • Vote on final approval of Amendment 2 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan. The commission voted in June to select its preferred management options. The specific Marine Fisheries Commission preferred management options and other related information is available on the southern flounder information page on the division’s website.
  • Receive a new petition for rulemaking from the N.C. Wildlife Federation and vote on whether to initiate the rulemaking process. The petition asks the commission to designate all internal coastal waters not otherwise designated as nursery areas as Shrimp Trawl Management Areas. The petition also asks for gear and time restrictions within these new areas.
  • Vote to send Draft Amendment 3 to the Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan out for public comment and advisory committee review. A 2018 stock assessment determined that North Carolina’s blue crab stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring. At least a 0.4% reduction in the number of crabs harvested is needed to end overfishing within two years, as required by law. At least a 2.2% reduction in the number of crabs harvested is needed to achieve sustainable harvest within 10 years, as required by law. The draft amendment includes several options for achieving these harvest reductions.
  • Receive a presentation from Division of Marine Fisheries staff on this year’s stock overview and on the 2018 landings summary.

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