April 26, 2017

New marine fisheries rules take effect May 1

Several marine fisheries rule changes will take effect May 1. They include six rule changes to implement amendments to the Oyster and Hard Clam fishery management plans and rule changes establishing a new permit for weekend trawling for live shrimp.

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission approved the rules and the amendments to the Oyster and Hard Clam fishery management plans at its February meeting.

Rule changes to implement the Oyster Fishery Management Plan Amendment 4 and Hard Clam Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 modify:

  • 15A NCAC 03K .0201 to reduce the daily commercial possession limit for oysters from 50 bushels to 20 bushels to align it with current management.
  • 15A NCAC 03K .0202 to reduce the culling tolerance for oysters from 10 percent to five percent.
  • 15A NCAC 03K .0302 to remove the clam mechanical harvest area on public bottom in Pamlico

Sound that is no longer opened to harvest:
  • 15A NCAC 03O .0114 to add convictions of theft on shellfish leases and franchises to the types of  violations that could result in license suspension and revocation.
  • 15A NCAC 03O .0201 to clarify how production and marketing rates are calculated for shellfish bottom leases, franchises and water column leases, including calculations for an extension period; expand the maximum potential initial lease area from five acres to 10 acres in all waters.
  • 15A NCAC 03O .0208 to specify criteria that allow a single extension period for shellfish leases of no more than two years per contract period in case of a natural event that would prevent the lease holder from making production and marketing requirements.

Other rule changes amend:
  • 15A NCAC 03J .0104, 15A NCAC 03L .0102, 15A NCAC 03O .0501 and 15A NCAC 03O .0503, to establish a Permit for Weekend Trawling for Live Shrimp. Commercial fishermen who wish to participate in this fishery on the weekends may contact Michelle Hensley at 252-808-8076 to receive a permit application package. Permit conditions include headrope length, live tank and aeration requirements.
  • 15A NCAC 03O .0503 to relocate a 2003 requirement for a permit for dealers transacting in spiny dogfish from proclamation into rule.
  • 15A NCAC 03O .0114 to increase penalties for gear larceny.
  • 15A NCAC 03R .0103 to correct a primary nursery area boundary coordinate for Wade Creek in Carteret County.
  • 15A NCAC 03O .0501 to clarify license requirements for leaseholder designees.
  • 15A NCAC 03M .0522 to re-establish a rule delegating proclamation authority to the fisheries director to specify time, area, means and methods, season, size, and quantity of spotted seatrout harvested in North Carolina, allowing for continued management under the North Carolina Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan due to an Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission plan to remove spotted seatrout from its managed species.
  • 15A NCAC 03H .0103 and 15A NCAC 03K .0110 to modify the fisheries director’s proclamation authority for the protection of public health.
  • 15A NCAC 03P .0101 to align the method of commencement of proceedings to suspend or revoke a fishing license, permit, or certificate with other similar administrative proceedings by the division and commission.

For more information on the rule changes, contact Catherine Blum at 252-808-8014.

Text of the rule changes will be posted here on May 1 in a rulebook supplement dated May 1, 2017.

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