The Fisheries Reform Act of 1997 (FRA) requires the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries to prepare FMPs for adoption by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission for all commercially and recreationally significant species or fisheries that comprise state marine or estuarine resources. The goal of these plans is to ensure long-term viability of these fisheries. Each plan shall:
a. Contain necessary information pertaining to the fishery or fisheries, including management goals and objectives, status of the relevant fish stocks, stock assessments for multi-year species, fishery habitat and water quality considerations consistent with Coastal Habitat Protection Plans, social and economic impact of the fishery to the State, and user conflict.
b. Recommend management actions pertaining to the fishery or fisheries.
c. Include conservation and management measures that will provide the greatest overall benefit to the State, particularly with regard to food production, recreational opportunities, and the protection of marine ecosystems, and that will produce a sustainable harvest.
d. Specify a time period, not to exceed 10 years from the date of the adoption of the plan, for ending overfishing and achieving a sustainable harvest. This subdivision shall only apply to a plan for a fishery that is overfished. This subdivision shall not apply to a plan for a fishery where the biology of the fish or environmental conditions make ending oversfishing and achieving a sustainable harvest within 10 years impracticable.
Sustainable Harvest: The amount of fish that can be taken from a fishery on a continuing basis without reducing the stock biomass of the fishery or causing the fishery to become overfished.
Overfished: The condition of a fishery that occurs when the spawning biomass of the fishery is below the level that is adequate for the recruitment class of a fishery to replace the spawning class of the fishery.
Overfishing: Fishing that causes a level of mortality that prevents a fishery from producing a sustainable harvest.