August 29, 2013

UPDATE:  MFC votes unanimously to deny trawling ban

The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission voted unanimously today at its meeting in Raleigh to deny a petition to reclassify most of the state’s internal coastal waters as permanent secondary nursery areas.

Four advisory panels to the commission voted in July to recommend that the petition be denied. If the petition for rulemaking had been granted, it would have effectively banned shrimp and crab trawling in North Carolina inshore waters.

The petition was filed in June by Tim Hergenrader, a New Bern artist. Hergenrader -- who has publicly supported a controversial gamefish bill promoted by the Coastal Conservation Association, a lobby group for recreational fishing – has defended the petition, saying it was about designating the nursery, not about ending shrimping, since ocean trawling would not be affected.

But most shrimp in North Carolina are caught in the sounds by smaller vessels.

The motion to deny the petition passed 9-0.

The MFC members said that the designation of additional nursery areas should be based and scientific analysis and sampling, the petition failed to provide sufficient scientific sampling and analysis to justify rulemaking, and the petitioner failed to address substantial economic impacts.

The petition was vehemently opposed by the state’s watermen. More than 700 fishermen, seafood dealers, business owners, public officials, coastal community leaders, and fish consumers descended on the New Bern convention center where the July meeting of the four advisory panels was held to voice that opposition.

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