THE MFC ADVISOR
Marine Fisheries Commission Business Meeting
Plymouth, North Carolina
January 30 - 31, 2003
The Marine Fisheries Commission and the Division of Marine Fisheries continue to look for ways to keep committee advisors and the public informed about
commission activities. It is our intent to publish the MFC Advisor after each business meeting, summarizing the meeting, and providing a list of motions,
actions, and rulemaking proceedings. Hopefully, this bulletin will keep you better informed about commission activities. Your comments regarding this update
are always appreciated – please contact Nancy Fish by e-mail at Nancy.Fish@ncmail.net or by phone at 252-726-7021 or 1-800-682-2632.
MOTIONS AND RULEMAKING
The Marine Fisheries Commission held a business meeting on January 30 – 31 at the Vernon James Agricultural Research Center in Plymouth North Carolina. The meeting was called to order followed by an invocation and roll call. Members in attendance: Jimmy Johnson, Chairman; Bryan Gillikin, Vice Chairman; Norm Bradford; Dr. B.J. Copeland; Mac Currin; Dr. Barbara Garrity-Blake; Tilman Gray, Rusty Russ and Bradley Styron.
Motion was made to accept the minutes from the last meeting – motion passed unanimously.
No one spoke during the Public Comment Period. Numerous people spoke at the public meeting on January 29 – contact Jess Hawkins at 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 if you would like the minutes of that meeting.
Norm Bradford discussed the striped bass quota in the ocean and urged the MFC to take a strong stand for Tar Heel fishermen.
The following individuals were appointed to advisory committees:
Central – Don Campbell, George Sugg, Ron McPherson and David Keilmeir
Northeast – Damon Tatum, Wayne Mathis, Brian Horsely, and Dossey Pruden
Inland – Jim Nobles, Jim Rice, Buzz Bryron, and Joe Hall
Southeast – Bud George, Bob Black, and Brian Shepard
Habitat and Water Quality – Tom Ellis, Terry Pratt and Mark Brinson
Finfish – Charlie Adams and Chuck Manooch
Shellfish – Raymond Graham, Troy Alphin, and Nelson Lee
Crustacean – Terry West, Jana Beasley, and Henry Daniels
Motion was made to reappoint Bryan Gillikin as Vice-Chairman– motion passed unanimously.
Reports were given on all the various MFC and FMP committee activities. Following are action items or motions resulting from these reports:
During the Finfish Committee report, a lengthy discussion took place regarding the commercial limit of 7 fish per day for the red drum bycatch fishery, not to exceed the 250,000-pound cap. Commissioners reviewed options to increase the daily landing limit since fishermen only landed less than 150,000 pounds of the 250,000-pound annual cap in 2001/2002. Fishermen had asked that the daily landing limit be increased as compensation for the gill net closures in Pamlico Sound. Debate continued about the nature and purpose of a bycatch fishery and it was pointed out that while fishermen had not harvest the entire cap in the 2001/2002 season, they had exceeded the cap in the previous two seasons. The commission counsel, along with the DMF director, confirmed the state was locked into the 7 fish daily landing limit through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s management process. MFC members expressed concern because North Carolina’s landing limit was intended to be flexible, using a sliding scale, in order to response to changes in the fishery. In developing the latest coast-wide management measures for red drum, the ASMFC said states could not liberalize their commercial restrictions – this action locked North Carolina’s 7 fish per day limit in place.
Motion was made to instruct the Division of Marine Fisheries to take the MFC’s concerns to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission regarding flexibility in red drum bycatch in order to get an increase and have a plan available to the MFC at the July meeting – motion passed unanimously.
Problems with the striped bass commercial ocean fishery were discussed, including high grading and various groups exceeding their harvest allocation. Instantaneous proclamation authority for the DMF director would allow him to shut down the fishery immediately, rather than giving 48-hour notice required by current statutes. The DMF was asked to prepare a paper outlining a permit process where fishermen would have to declare what type of fishing gear they would use in the striped bass ocean fishery.
Non-native oyster research was the focus of the Shellfish Committee report. Some commissioners expressed concern over research funding and asked the DMF to prepare a report on the history on non-native oyster use and research.
The Habitat and Water Quality Committee drafted several letters for the MFC commenting on marina permits and a proposal to improve the migration of fish in the Cape Fear River.
Motion was made to approve the letter recommending denial of the Kreher properties (proposed 10-slip marina in Pamlico Co.) permit – motion passed unanimously.
Motion was made to approve the letter recommending denial of the John Dixon (proposed 33 slip marina in Dare Co.) permit – motion passed unanimously.
Motion was made to approve a letter supporting funding for a bypass canal around Lock and Dam #1 in the Cape Fear River – motion passed unanimously.
Coastal Habitat Protection Plan Presentation – Mike Street gave an overview of the CHPP. Other presentations will be given to the Coastal Resources and Environmental Management commissions.
Federal Aid Overview – Maury Wolff gave an overview of federal aid projects and their monetary contributions to the DMF’s budget.
Comments on Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) Rules
Motion was made to support WRC rule prohibiting fishing in the bypass channel around Lock and Dam #1 in the Cape Fear River – motion passed unanimously.
Motion was made to appose the WRC’s proposed rule regarding the blue crab creel limit (a creel limit on crabs of 50 per individual per day/100 per vessel per day) – motion passed unanimously.
Motion was made to oppose the WRC’s proposed rule regarding herring limits (25 fish/6 inches) – motion passed.
Motion was made to support the WRC’s proposed rule regarding gill nets in Town Creek in Brunswick Co. – motion passed.
Motion was made to support the WRC’s proposed rule designating new primary nursery areas – motion passed unanimously.
Motion was made to reconsider the motion regarding the WRC’s proposed rule on herring limits – motion passed unanimously.
Motion was made to support the WRC’s proposed rule on herring limits – motion passed unanimously.
Charter Boat License Information Overview – Doug Mumford discussed charter boat licenses and reasons for implementing a permit for charter boats in North Carolina.
A discussion was held about a charter boat license versus a permit and it was decided to send the issue to the regional committees for discussion and then discuss the committees’ input at the MFC’s March meeting.
Motion was made to put the charter boat permit/license on the agenda for the March meeting – motion passed unanimously.
Subject Matter Notification (potential rule changes the MFC is considering)
Motion was made to do subject matter notification on shellfish dealer certification, License to Land and Sell, and Striped Bass FMP
Temporary Rule (Public hearings will be held in April and May)
Motion was made to amend the mechanical harvest depth criteria to 6 ft. contour from a 10-ft. contour in the Oyster FMP and to continue to designate hand harvest areas by rule – motion passed unanimously.
Division of Marine Fisheries Director’s Report:
Budget - There is no new news to report except the division has been asked to prepare contingency plans for a 7 percent to 11 percent reduction.
Legislative Update – The Joint Study Commission on Seafood and Aquaculture in not planning to meet, so individual legislators will have to be found to sponsor bills. Items for legislative consideration include:
-Statutory changes to implement the Oyster and Clam FMPs;
-Implementation of the Core Sound stakeholder recommendations on statewide basis;
-Approval of a Violation Point System;
-Extension of the deadline for completion of the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan to Dec. 31, 2004;
-Statutory change to allow cross-swearing of law enforcement officers with the National Marine Fisheries Service;
-Expansion of Marine Patrol authority to complement that by WRC officers;
-Authority to have instantaneous proclamation authority for the DMF director to allow a quota fishery to be shut down immediately, rather than giving 48-hour notice required by the current proclamation process; and
-Changing the Maximum Sustainable Yield provision of the Fisheries Reform Act, to a more achievable and understandable concept.
Flounder Size Limit in Internal Waters Rules Suspension – The DMF increased the internal size limit for flounder in most areas 13 inches to 14 inches by proclamation in an attempt to slow the recreational harvest rate and not exceed the harvest target for summer flounder set by the ASMFC and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. To change the size limit the DMF director had to suspend the existing rule. The rule needs to be resuspended at each subsequent MFC meeting, until a rule is implemented.
Motion was made to resuspend the flounder size limit rules in inside waters and continue the increased size limit – motion passed unanimously.
Summer Flounder Rule Suspension/Recreational Size Limit – The DMF director changed the recreational size limit of flounder in the Atlantic Ocean from 15 inches to 15.5 inches by suspending the rule and implementing a new size limit by proclamation. The rule needs to be resuspended at each subsequent MFC meeting, until a rule is implemented. It is anticipated that the DMF will be able to reduce the size limit back to 15 inches in the near future.
Motion was made to resuspend the recreational flounder size limit rule in the Atlantic Ocean and continue the increased size limit – motion passed unanimously.
Motion was made to suspend the rule and allow menhaden boats to go within one mile of shore because menhaden are so scarce – motion passed unanimously.
Striped Bass – An overview was given of the seasons in the ocean, Albemarle Sound Management Area and the Pamlico Sound for both recreational and commercial fishermen.
Updates were given of the activities of the following groups:
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council
Highly Migratory Species
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council
Take Reduction Team
MFC Meetings for 2003:
March 27-28, 2003 Greenville
May 22-23, 2003 Southeast Area
July 24-25, 2003 Inland Area
October 2-3, 2003 Morehead City
November 18-19, 2003 Northeast Area