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Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - Aug. 2011

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021
Date: Aug. 9, 2011

Marine Fisheries Meeting Cancelled Due to Lack of Quorum

MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission meeting that was scheduled for this week in Raleigh has been cancelled due to the expected lack of a quorum. The meeting will be rescheduled within 30 days.

Under state law, the Marine Fisheries Commission does not meet requirements for a quorum unless at least six of the nine members are present, including one that holds a commercial fisherman or industry seat and one that holds a recreational fisherman or industry seat. Commission Chairman Rob Bizzell said he was informed shortly after 6 p.m. today that there would be no commissioner representing commercial fishing interests able to attend this week’s planned meeting.

Also under state law, if the commission is unable to transact business because of the above requirement, the chair must call another meeting within 30 days to take up the matters that were on the agenda of the cancelled meeting. Only five commission members holding any of the seats will constitute a quorum for this meeting.

The new meeting date will be announced as soon as it is scheduled.

nr-32-2011


Release: Immediate
Contact: Kim Iverson
Phone: Toll Free 866-SAFMC-10 or 843-571-4366
Email: kim.iverson@safmc.net
Date: Aug. 1, 2011

Public Hearings Scheduled for Red Grouper Management Measures

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will conduct a series of four public hearings from North Carolina to Florida regarding management measures proposed for red grouper.  Amendment 24 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan for the South Atlantic would implement a rebuilding plan for red grouper in the South Atlantic as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act for species determined to be overfished and undergoing overfishing. The intent of the rebuilding plan is to end overfishing immediately and increase biomass of the overfished stock to a sustainable level within a specified period of time.  The amendment would also specify management parameters such as Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and Optimum Yield (OY) for the red grouper fishery.  In addition, Annual Catch Limits (in pounds or numbers of fish) and Accountability Measures (should the catch limits be exceeded) would be established for both recreational and commercial sectors of the red grouper fishery.

The public hearings will be held August 22-25, 2011 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.. Council staff will present an overview of the amendment and will be available for informal discussions and to answer questions. Local Council representatives will attend the meetings and take public comment regarding the amendment.  Members of the public will have an opportunity to go on record at any time during the meeting hours to record their comments regarding Snapper Grouper Amendment 24 for consideration by the Council.

A copy of the Public Hearing document for Amendment 24 will be available from the Council’s website at www.safmc.net beginning August 12, 2011 or by contacting the Council office at 843-571-4366 or toll free 866-SAFMC-10.  Written comments should be sent to Bob Mahood, Executive Director, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, North Charleston, SC  29405, or via email to: SGAmend24PHcomment@safmc.net for Amendment 24 to the Snapper Grouper FMP. Written comments will be accepted from August 12, 2011 until 5:00 PM on September 1, 2011.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, one of eight regional councils, conserves and manages fish stocks from three to 200 miles offshore of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and east Florida.


Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: (252) 726-7021
Date: Aug. 1, 2011

Fisheries Commission to Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Rules

MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Sept. 14 on four proposed fisheries rules. The hearing will be held at the division’s Central District Office, 5285 Highway 70 West in Morehead City.

The proposals include establishing a new rule, 15A NCAC 03O .0114, that changes the schedule for suspension, revocation and reissuance of fishing licenses. The N.C. General Assembly passed a law in 2010 directing the Marine Fisheries Commission to adopt such rules.

The changes are necessary to provide a fairer method for suspension and revocation of licenses.

The current system often treats minor violations the same as major violations.  For example, a violation of rules pertaining to gear identification (buoy markings) is equal to that of using prohibited gear in a primary nursery area. Additionally, the current system does not provide for the suspension, revocation and reissuance of Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses.

Under the proposal, non-resource-related violations will not count toward the suspension or revocation of a license.  There are 24 violations that are considered non-resource violations. They include improperly marked buoys or failure to notify the division of a change of address. Also, the new system will treat recreational violations the same as commercial.

Tables 1 and 2 below show the current suspension and revocation schedule as compared to the proposed schedule for violations occurring within a three year period.

Table 1
Suspension and Revocation Schedule

Current

Proposed

2 Convictions = 10-Day Suspension

2 Convictions = 30-Day Suspension

3 Convictions = 30-Day Suspension

3 Convictions = 90-Day Suspension

4 or Subsequent Convictions = 6-Month Revocation

4  or Subsequent Convictions = 1-Year Revocation


 

Table 2
Major Violations

Statute

Current Proposed

Taking Shellfish from a Permanent Polluted Area
(G.S. 113-187)

10-Day Suspension 6-Month revocation (2nd
conviction w/in 3 years)

1-Year Suspension 1-Year Revocation (2nd  or subsequent conviction w/in 3 years)

 Taking Polluted Shellfish at Night (G.S. 113-209)

 Felony Conviction
10-Day Suspension 

 Felony Conviction
1-year Revocation

 Assault on a Marine Patrol Officer (G.S. 14-32 & G.S. 14-33©(4))  

 No Suspension

 2-year Revocation

 Littering (G.S. 14-399)

 No Suspension

 1 Misdemeanor conviction would count towards a suspension with a Felony conviction resulting in a
1-year Suspension

 Coastal Recreational Fishing License (G.S. 113-174.2)

 No Suspension

 See Table 1


The proposal to change the schedule for suspension, revocation and reissuance of fishing licenses is expected to become effective Oct. 1, 2012.

The three other proposed rules for the public hearing follow:

  • Repeal rule 15A NCAC 03M .0504, which sets specific recreational size and bag limits for spotted seatrout. The size and bag limits for spotted seatrout changed in 2009, and were implemented under rule 15A NCAC 03M. 0512, which gives the division director authority to issue proclamations to implement measures from fishery management plans. Future changes will be implemented under this same proclamation authority. This proposed rule has an intended effective date of April 1, 2012;
  • Amend rule 15A NCAC 03M .0519 so that it incorporates an American shad ocean closure that has been in place by proclamation since 2005. This proposed rule has an intended effective date of April 1, 2012; and
  • Amend rule 15A NCAC 03O .0111, which deals with the surrender of fishing licenses, to allow a notice of suspension or revocation of a license to be made by certified mail. This proposed rule has an intended effective date of Oct. 1, 2012.

Full text of the proposed rules can be found on the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries website at http://www.ncfisheries.net/rules/proposed_rules.html. Written comments will be accepted through Sept. 30, 2011, and may be sent to:

Catherine Blum
Rulemaking Coordinator
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries
P.O. Box 769
Morehead City, NC 28557
FAX: (252) 726-0254
Catherine.Blum@ncdenr.gov

For more information, contact Blum at 252-808-8013.

nr-31-2011

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • (252) 726-7021 or 1-800-682-263

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