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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - nr-51-2015 Public Comment

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: Dec. 4, 2015
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252-726-7021

Public comment sought on draft amendments to oyster and hard clam plans,
2015 Coastal Habitat Protection Plan

MOREHEAD CITY — Fishermen and others will get a chance to comment on future management of oysters and clams and coastal habitat at a series of public meetings to be held in the coming weeks.

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will hold four meetings to receive public comments on draft amendments to the Oyster and Hard Clam fishery management plans and on the 2015 Coastal Habitat Protection Plan.

The meetings will be held in conjunction with Marine Fisheries Commission advisory committee meetings scheduled for:

 

Dec. 8, 5:30 p.m.
Shellfish/Crustacean Advisory Committee
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office
5285 Highway 70 West, Morehead City
Contacts: Anne Deaton
Phone: 252-808-8063
Email: Anne.Deaton@ncdenr.gov
Trish Murphey
Phone: 252-808-8091
Email: Trish.Murphey@ncdenr.gov
Read agenda
Dec. 10, 5:30 p.m.
Northern Regional Advisory Committee
Department of Environmental Quality Regional Office
943 Washington Square Mall, Washington
Contacts: Katy West
Phone: 252-948-3884
Email: Katy.West@ncdenr.gov
Holly White
Phone: 252-473-5734
Email: Holly.White@ncdenr.gov
Read agenda
Dec. 9, 5:30 p.m.
Southern Regional Advisory Committee
Department of Environmental Quality Regional Office
127 Cardinal Drive Ext., Wilmington
Contact: Trish Murphey
Phone: 252-808-8091
Email: Trish.Murphey@ncdenr.gov
Read agenda
Dec. 14, 1:30 p.m.
Habitat and Water Quality Advisory Committee
Department of Environmental Quality Regional Office
943 Washington Square Mall, Washington
Contacts: Anne Deaton
Phone: 252-808-8063
Email: Anne.Deaton@ncdenr.gov
Katy West
Phone: 252-948-3884
Email: Katy.West@ncdenr.gov
Read agenda

The draft oyster plan amendment looks at:

  • Whether to re-open shallow bays (less than six feet deep) of Pamlico Sound to mechanical harvest.
  • Whether to continue the monitoring trigger of 26 percent legal-sized live oysters to determine when to close mechanical harvest (adopted in Supplement A to Amendment 2 to the N.C. Oyster Fishery Management Plan).
  • Whether to make hand harvest limits the same statewide.
  • How to mitigate harvest effort impacts on oyster resources in the Southern region.

The draft clam plan amendment looks at:

  • Whether to increase the recreational maximum daily harvest limit for hard clams.
  • Whether to allow the use of power hauling equipment in the hand harvest of hard clams.
  • Whether to modify mechanical clam harvest lines to exclude areas no longer fished.
  • The draft amendments to the oyster and clam plans also consider multiple changes to the shellfish lease program, changes to the shellfish license, and shading requirements for shellfish.

The draft 2015 Coastal Habitat Protection Plan contains four goals and four priority issues:

  • Goal 1 – Improve effectiveness of existing rules and programs protecting coastal fish habitats -- includes five recommendations to enhance permit compliance, monitoring, outreach, coordination across environmental commissions and management of invasive species.
  • Goal 2 – Identify and delineate strategic coastal habitats -- includes two recommendations regarding mapping and monitoring fish habitat, assessing their condition and identifying priority areas for fish species.
  • Goal 3 – Enhance and protect habitats from adverse physical impacts – includes eight recommendations on expanding habitat restoration, managing ocean and estuarine shorelines, protecting habitat from destructive fishing gear and dredging and filling impacts.
  • Goal 4 – Enhance and protect water quality – includes eight recommendations to reduce point and non-point sources of pollution in surface waters through encouragement of best management practices, incentives, assistance, outreach and coordination. This applies not only to activities under the authority of the Department of Environmental Quality, such as development and fishing, but for all land use activities, including forestry, agriculture and road construction.

Priority issues for the plan’s implementation actions include oyster restoration, living shorelines, reducing sedimentation in tidal creeks and developing metrics to evaluate habitat trends.

Meeting agendas are attached.

Find the draft amendments to the Oyster and Clam fishery management plans at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/fmps-under-development. Find the draft 2015 Coastal Habitat Protection Plan at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/habitat/chpp/downloads.

For more information, contact Catherine Blum, division fishery management plan coordinator, 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

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