Comment period opens, public hearing scheduled for two marine fisheries rules

Published 2:02 pm Monday, October 24, 2022

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The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission is accepting public comment on the proposed re-adoption and amendment of one rule under a state-mandated periodic review schedule and proposed amendments to a second rule.

The first rule sets requirements for the harvest classification of shellfish growing waters in and around marinas, docking facilities and other mooring areas. It is proposed for re-adoption and amendment to help ensure that North Carolina remains in full compliance with national requirements so that N.C. shellfish can continue to be sold through interstate commerce.

Proposed amendments would also allow the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries to determine necessary buffer closures for shellfish growing waters in and around these areas based on a more scientific and public health-based rationale and make implementation and enforceability of requirements clearer.

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The second rule is proposed with amendments to mutilated finfish requirements. Amendments would provide flexibility to manage variable conditions for the use of finfish as cut bait by simplifying the rule so that only species subject to a possession limit are subject to the mutilated finfish requirements unless otherwise specified in a N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission rule or a proclamation issued under the authority of a N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission rule.

A public hearing will be held by web conference on Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. A listening station will be established at the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office at 5285 Highway 70 West in Morehead City. The public may join the meeting online; however, those who wish to comment during the hearing must register to speak by noon on the day of the hearing.

Members of the public also may submit written comments through an online form or through the mail to N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rules Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Comments must be posted online or be received by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries by 5 p.m. on Dec. 2, 2022.

Links to the public hearing registration form and online comment form, as well as text of the proposed rules and links to join the meeting, can be found on the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission proposed rules page on the Marine Fisheries website under NC Department of Environmental Quality.

The proposed rule changes will be presented to the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission for final approval in February 2023 and have an earliest effective date of May 1, 2023.

For questions about the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission rulemaking process, email, rules coordinator for the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.