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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

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Marine Fisheries - nr-22-2018 MFC

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: Feb. 19, 2018
Phone: 252-726-7021

Marine Fisheries Commission asks legislature
to look at commercial fishing license criteria

8-point rule

 

 

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will ask legislators to make changes to criteria for commercial fishing licenses, but will not ask for an income requirement.

The commission voted Thursday to send a letter to the legislature recommending the below changes to Standard Commercial Fishing Licenses:

1. Develop a new commercial fishing license based on criteria to qualify current commercial license holders. Current license holders must demonstrate a minimal level of participation in the fishery as reported by landings (1,000 pounds of seafood products) or effort (15 trips) through the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Trip Ticket Program during any two out of five continuous calendar years.
2. Only allow license transfers or assignments to members of the immediate family or corporation of a licensed commercial fisherman.
3. Create a Crew License for individuals to apprentice with commercial fishermen for three years, after which time they would be eligible to purchase a standard commercial fishing license. The annual fee for the Crew License would be $100.
4. Cap the pool at 100, and establish a new pool to receive licenses that are not renewed each year. Any non-renewed licenses would be transferred into the new pool and used to fill new commercial fishing license demand for qualified applicants. Inactive licenses may be reactivated for a fee.
5. Inactive Standard Commercial Fishing Licenses that do not have requirements set forth by the legislature would go back into a special pool and these licenses may be reissued to the original holder without going through the Eligibility Pool.
6. Create a Heritage Standard Commercial Fishing License that families may want to maintain that are inactive that may be maintained for $100 per year and may be reissued one time to a family member without going through the Eligibility Pool or any of the requirements listed above. If reissue is not wanted, a one-time fee of $100 will retire that license number.
7. Graduation or completion of community colleges offering a commercial fishing program will be recognized as having served an apprenticeship eligible for an Eligibility Pool license.

The proposed changes require legislative approval.

In other business, the commission voted to:

  • Ask the Division of Marine Fisheries to temporarily stop issuing shellfish leases and accepting shellfish lease applications for waters from Bogue Sound south until the division can fully assess safety concerns and other regulatory needs. The commission asked for a report on this issue at its May 2018 meeting. Division Director Steve Murphey told the commission he would seek legal counsel to see if the division has authority for these actions.
  • Approve a recreational cobia season of May 1 to Dec. 31, with a limit for private vessels of one fish per person, up to two fish per vessel from May 1 to May 31 and one fish per vessel June 1 through Dec. 31; the limit for for-hire vessels would be one fish per person up to four fish per vessel May 1 through Dec. 31. All measures include a 36-inch fork length minimum size limit. These management measures must be reviewed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Cobia Technical Committee and approved by the South Atlantic State/Federal Management Board.
  • Ask the Division of Marine Fisheries to draft rules to make tarpon a no spear, no gaff and no possession fish.
  • Ask Governor Roy Cooper to examine the current membership of the Marine Fisheries Commission and, if need be, make changes to ensure the commission functions as intended.

nr-22-2018

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

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