Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: Dec. 17, 2012
Public Comment Sought on Proposed Rules Pertaining to Striped Bass Fishery, Electronic Reporting
MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission is accepting public comment on a slate of proposed rule changes that pertain to various issues, including the use of hook-and-line gear in the commercial striped bass fishery and electronic reporting requirements for fish dealers.
The commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed rule changes at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Washington Regional Office, 943 Washington Square Mall, Washington.
The commission is proposing to remove the prohibition on the sale and purchase of striped bass taken by hook-and-line gear. This will not automatically authorize the use of hook-and-line gear in the commercial striped bass fishery, but it will permit issuance of a proclamation to allow the use of this gear at some future date.
It is the intent that such a proclamation would follow discussions by the Marine Fisheries Commission and its advisory committees in association with review of fishery management plans.
The proposed rules also clarify that it will remain unlawful for a commercial fishing operation to possess striped bass taken from waters of the Roanoke River Management Area, which are under the jurisdiction of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
The commission is also proposing to require electronic reporting of landings from all fish dealers that report an annual average of greater than 50,000 pounds of finfish for the previous three calendar years. Electronically reported files are processed quicker than paper files, and the faster access to data will allow fisheries managers to make more timely decisions and more efficiently monitor fisheries landings for species managed under a quota.
Other proposed rule changes will:
- Replace the harvest limit of 100 shrimp per person per day for shrimp taken with a cast net from a closed area with a volume harvest limit of two quarts of shrimp per person per day. The amounts are effectively equal, but measuring the volume will take less time than counting the shrimp, making the enforcement check safer for Marine Patrol and less burdensome for the fisherman.
- Shift the existing joint/coastal boundary line between the Albemarle Sound Management Area and the Roanoke River Management Area for easier public identification and adherence to striped bass regulations.
- Re-establish a coordinate point on land for Roanoke Marshes Point, which is the western point of the southern boundary for the Albemarle Sound Management Area. The land has eroded so that the current boundary point lies in the water. Re-establishing the point on land will make identifying it easier for fishermen and enforcement officers. The point is used to mark the boundaries for the Albemarle Sound/Chowan River Herring Management Areas, Attended Gill Net Areas and Striped Bass Management Areas.
The public may also comment in writing to Catherine Blum, Rulemaking Coordinator, N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557 or send comments by email to Catherine.Blum@ncdenr.gov or fax to 252-726-0254. The public comment period will close at 5 p.m. Feb. 15.
The commission is scheduled to vote on the proposed rules at its Feb. 27-March 1 meeting. If approved, the rules could take effect as early as May 1.
For more information on the proposed rules, go to http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/mfc-proposed-rules-links or contact Blum at 252-808-8014 or Catherine.Blum@ncdenr.gov.
|N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 |