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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Membership and Ethics

Marine Fisheries

Salt marsh

N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Membership and Ethics

Membership Requirements

The membership, appointments, terms and ethical standards for the Marine Fisheries Commissions are set out in G.S. 143B-289.54. As with many regulatory commissions, individuals whose activities are regulated by the commission are required to make up a certain portion of the membership.

 

Seat

Qualifications

Commercial Fisherman

Individual currently or recently deriving at least 50 percent of annual earned income from taking and selling fishery resources in coastal fishing waters of the state. Spouses of qualified individuals may be appointed.

Commercial Industry

Individual deriving at least 50 percent of annual earned income from activities involving the buying, selling, processing, or distributing of seafood landed in this state.  Spouses of qualified individuals may be appointed if he or she is actively involved in the qualifying business.

Recreational Fisherman

Individual actively engaged in recreational sports fishing in coastal waters of the state who does not derive more than 10 percent of annual earned income from sports fishing activities.

Sport Fishing Industry

Individual deriving at least 50 percent of annual earned income from selling goods or services related to the sport fishing industry in the state.  Spouses of qualified individuals may be appointed.

At-large

Individual having general knowledge of and experience related to subjects and persons regulated by the commission.

Scientist

Individual who is a fisheries scientist having special training and expertise in marine and estuarine fisheries biology, ecology, population dynamics, water quality, habitat protection, or similar knowledge,.  He or she may not receive more than 10 percent of annual earned income from either the commercial or sport fishing industries.

 

Ethical Standards

Ethics and conflict of interest standards can be confusing because some commissions adhere to standards set forth in various statutes and others by standards in executive orders. Executive Order 34, issued by Governor Bev Perdue on Dec. 9, 2009, does set ethics and attendance standards for gubernatorial appointees. However, in 1997 the legislature enacted a specific conflict of interest standard for the Marine Fisheries Commission set out in G.S. 143B-289.54.

The more particular provisions for Marine Fisheries Commission members are applied in determining when recusal from participation and voting is required. This provision reads as follows:

Voting/conflict of interest. A member of the Commission shall not vote on any issue before the Commission that would have a "significant and predictable effect" on the member's financial interest. For purposes of this subdivision, "significant and predictable effect" means there is or may be a close causal link between the decision of the Commission and an expected disproportionate financial benefit to the member that is shared only by a minority of persons within the same industry sector or gear group. A member of the Commission shall also abstain from voting on any petition submitted by an advocacy group of which the member is an officer or sits as a member of the advocacy group's board of directors. A member of the Commission shall not use the member's official position as a member of the Commission to secure any special privilege or exemption of substantial value for any person. No member of the Commission shall, by the member's conduct, create an appearance that any person could improperly influence the member in the performance of the member's official duties.

Under the State Government Ethics Act each member of the Marine Fisheries Commission is to make a diligent effort before participating in discussion and voting on a matter before the commission to determine whether the member has a conflict of interest.

State of N.C. Boards and Commissions
State of N.C. Ethics Commission

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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