MFC advances striped mullet plan for departmental and legislative review

Published 4:12 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

On Feb. 22, 2024, the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission selected its preferred management options for the draft striped mullet fishery management plan amendment 2.

The commission selected the Division of Marine Fisheries’ recommended management options, which were revised from what was proposed in November based on public comment, states the commission’s media release.

The preferred management measures for the commercial fishery are estimated to generate a 34.9% reduction in harvest:

  • Saturday-Sunday closure from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30.
  • Saturday-Monday closure Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.
  • Manage the stop net fishery with the same measures as the rest of the striped mullet fishery.
Get the latest headlines sent to you

The preferred management measures for the recreational fishery are:

  • Recreational individual bag limit of 100 fish.
  • Recreational vessel limit of 400 fish.
  • An exception for for-hire vessel operations to possess a bag limit for the number of anglers fishing up to the 400-fish maximum (including in advance of a trip).

Additionally, adaptive management is proposed for both commercial and recreational fisheries that allows the division director to use proclamation authority to adjust season closures, day of week closures, and trip limits.

The draft amendment is scheduled for final commission approval in May 2024.

In other business, the commission voted to:

  • Select its preferred management option and associated proposed language for future rulemaking that would allow the division director, with Marine Fisheries Commission concurrence, to issue a proclamation to cap harvest of false albacore through recreational bag limits, recreational vessel limits, and commercial trip limits if the false albacore fishery landings exceed a preset threshold.
  • Refer an issue paper pertaining to protecting submerged aquatic vegetation through shrimp trawl area closures to the northern, southern and shellfish/crustacean advisory committees for stakeholder input.
  • Approve a recommendation from the Marine Fisheries Commission Conservation Fund Committee to expend $40,000 from the fund to assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in stocking striped bass in the Albemarle Sound.
  • Seek multiple sources of funding (including the Commercial Fishing Resource Fund) and possible alternative methods of monitoring for a shrimp trawl observer program.
  • Select its preferred management option and associated proposed language for future rulemaking to simplify pot marking requirements.