September 18, 2012

New rules on suspension, revocation of recreational
fishing license are effective Oct. 1


Beginning Oct. 1, coastal recreational fishermen can lose their fishing licenses for violating fishing rules.

Recreational fishermen will fall under the same license suspension, revocation and reissuance schedule as commercial fishermen, and that schedule will change Oct. 1, as well.

“Fishermen will face longer license suspensions for most violations,” said Louis Daniel, director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. “However, non-resource-related violations will no longer count against suspension or revocation of a license.”

Twenty-four violations are considered non-resource violations, which include improperly marked buoys or failure to notify the division of a change of address.

The Coastal Recreational Fishing License went into effect in January 2007, but there were no laws pertaining to losing that license for violating fishing rules. Then in 2010, the N.C. General Assembly passed a law directing the Marine Fisheries Commission to adopt such rules. The new law also authorized the commission to modify the existing suspension and revocation schedule.

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission adopted these rules at its November 2011 meeting, following a public comment period.

Tables 1 and 2 below show the current suspension and revocation schedule as compared to the new schedule for violations occurring within a three-year period.

Table 1
Suspension and Revocation Schedule
(Within 3-year-period)

Current

Effective Oct. 1

2 convictions = 10-day suspension

2 convictions = 30-day suspension

3 convictions = 30-day suspension

3 convictions = 90-day suspension

4 or more convictions = 6-month revocation

4 or more convictions = revocation (eligible to apply for reinstatement after 1 year)



Table 2
Major Violations
(Within 3-year-period)

Violation

Current

Effective Oct. 1

Taking shellfish from a permanent polluted area – first conviction

10-day suspension


1-year suspension


Taking shellfish from a permanent polluted area – 2 or more convictions

6-month revocation

Revocation (eligible to apply for reinstatement after 1 year)

Taking polluted shellfish at night

Felony conviction;

10-day suspension

Felony conviction; revocation (eligible to apply for reinstatement after 1 year)

Assault on a Marine Patrol officer

No suspension

Revocation (eligible to apply for reinstatement after 2 years)

Littering – misdemeanor

No suspension

Counts as 1 conviction toward suspension

Littering – felony

No suspension

1-year suspension


Another rule will change Oct. 1 to allow a notice of suspension or revocation of a license to be made by certified mail. Currently, notice of suspension or revocation must be made in person.

Full text of the new rules can be found in an Oct. 1, 2012 supplement to the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rules on the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/rules-and-regulations.

For more information, contact division Rulemaking Coordinator Catherine Blum at 252-808-8014 or [email protected].

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