June 25, 2013

MFC schedules, then cancels meeting to
consider banning trawling in inside waters

By IRENE NOLAN

Marine Fisheries Commission Chairman Rob Bizzell yesterday scheduled a meeting for Friday to consider a petition for rulemaking that effectively would prohibit trawling in North Carolina’s internal coastal waters. Then today, he cancelled the meeting.

According to an MFC press release, Bizzell has decided, instead, to ask the Finfish, Shellfish/Crustacean, Habitat and Water Quality and Sea Turtle advisory committees to review and comment on the petition prior to the Marine Fisheries Commission vote.

The schedule of meetings for these advisory committees will be announced in the coming days.

The petition, submitted by Tim Hergenrader, asks the commission to adopt a rule that makes North Carolina’s internal coastal waters permanent secondary nursery areas, unless they are currently designated as primary nursery areas or special secondary nursery areas. A Marine Fisheries Commission rule, already in place, prohibits the use of trawl nets in secondary nursery areas.

Under state law, the commission has 120 days from the date a formal petition for rulemaking is submitted to either grant or deny the petition. If the commission grants the petition, it will begin a rulemaking process which will include fiscal analysis, notice of text in the state register, a public comment period and at least one public hearing.

If a rule should be adopted, it would ban trawling in all inside water, such as the sounds, and would eliminate such activities as trawling for shrimp.

The petition for rulemaking can be found on the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/june-2013-mfc-briefing-book.

For more information, contact Nancy Fish, division liaison to the Marine Fisheries Commission, at 252-808-8021 or [email protected].

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