The petition was submitted Nov. 2 by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, and the commission has 120 days from that date to grant or deny the request.
Chairman Sammy Corbett outlined the petition review procedure at the commission’s business meeting last week.
First, the petition must be deemed complete. Under state law, a person may petition any agency or commission to adopt or change a rule by submitting a written rulemaking petition that contains the proposed text of the requested rule change and a statement of the effect of the requested rule change. Commission rules require additional information.
If the petition is deemed complete, Corbett said he intends to take public comment through the commission’s advisory committees, possibly at a joint advisory committee meeting similar to one held in 2013 on a similar petition.
The commission will then discuss and vote on the petition at its February meeting.
The petition asks the commission to designate all coastal fishing waters (including the ocean out to three miles) not otherwise designated as nursery areas as special secondary nursery areas, establish clear criteria for the opening of shrimp season, and define the type of gear and how and when gear may be used in special secondary nursery areas during shrimp season.
Specific requests of the petition include limiting shrimp trawling to three days a week in the daytime only, limiting the total trawl head rope to 90 feet, limiting tow times to 45 minutes, and opening the Pamlico Sound shrimp season based on a count of 60 shrimp per pound, heads on.
In other business, the commission voted to: