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Public Comment on Shrimp Trawl FMP

NC DMF OPENS PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON SHRIMP FMP

NC DMF OPENS PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON SHRIMP FMP

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is accepting public comment on proposed management changes to further reduce bycatch of non-target species and minimize ecosystem impacts from North Carolina shrimp trawling.

Draft Amendment 2 to the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan contains a suite of management options that range broadly from status quo to a complete closure of all inside waters, including Pamlico Sound, to shrimp trawling. They 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.

We encourage you to look specifically at pages 178 – 182 in the Draft Amendment link above. These maps were created by the DMF Plan Development Team to highlight areas within the Pamlico Sound that have been identified as “hotspots” of juvenile fish abundance through what is termed the P-195 juvenile abundance trawl surveys. These maps of hotspots by species highlight the fact that our inshore shrimp trawl fleets have been trawling for decades right on top of areas we know through these trawl studies to be important juvenile finfish nursery areas. Specifically calling attention to croaker, spot, Southern flounder and weakfish – all fish stocks we know have experienced severe declines since at least 1997. The maps on pages 185 – 186 then show how these juvenile finfish nursery areas overlay with the abundance surveys for all three species of shrimp found in our Pamlico Sound. A clear picture emerges of how we are trawling for shrimp on top of important juvenile finfish nursery areas and why this is having a negative impact on the stocks of croaker, spot, weakfish and flounder.

The obvious solution would be to close the Pamlico Sound to all trawling as it is difficult to say any one hotspot of juvenile abundance is more or less important than another, but the next pages, 188 – 189, do look at options for partial closures. You are encouraged to provide your own public comment on the proposed changes in the Draft Amendment. DMF staff has stated clearly that “status quo” will not meet the goal and objectives of the new Shrimp FMP if we are to make significant gains in reducing bycatch waste and minimizing further damage to our coastal ecosystem.

The public may comment on Draft Shrimp Amendment 2 in three ways:

Sign Up to Speak at an Advisory Committee Meeting – Public comment will be accepted at the three Marine Fisheries Commission Advisory Committee meetings listed below. Those who wish to speak at the meetings must register by 5 p.m. the day before the meeting

Submit Online Comments – Public comments will be accepted through an online form until 5 p.m. on June 30. Click here to submit comments online

Mail Comments – 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 the division 5 p.m. on June 30.

Emailed comments will not be accepted!!!!

Five Marine Fisheries Commission Advisory Committees are scheduled to review and accept public comment on Draft Shrimp Amendment 2. The committees will meet by web conference as follows:

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

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 910-796-7291, Jason Rock at 252-808-8091, or Daniel Zapf at 252-946-6481



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