THE MFC ADVISOR
Marine Fisheries Commission Business Meeting
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
The Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) and the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) 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. Agenda items are listed in bold type to assist in navigating the document. Hopefully, this bulletin will keep you better informed about commission activities. Your comments regarding this update re 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.
The MFC held a business meeting February 2-4 at the Shell Island complex in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. The business meeting was called to order followed by an invocation. A roll call was conducted and the following members were in attendance: Jimmy Johnson – Chairman, Bryan Gillikin - Vice Chairman, Charlie Adams, Dr. B.J. Copeland, Mac Currin, Dr. Barbara Garrity-Blake, Rusty Russ (excused absence 2/4/05), and Bradley Styron. The commercial seat, previously held by Tilman Gray, has not been filled.
Motion was made to accept the minutes from the last meeting with corrections – motion passed unanimously.
The following people spoke during the Public Comment Period:
W. D. Cherry – spoke against the proposal in the Southern Flounder FMP to require nighttime attendance with RCGL nets.
Jerry Schill, Executive Director of the N.C. Fisheries Association – spoke of the inlet and channel problems at Oregon Inlet, the channel at Hell’s Gate and the shallow draft inlets in the rest of the state; possession of striped bass in federal waters; appointment of advisors to the Dogfish Compliance Advisory Committee; Mid Atlantic Council nominations; proposed regulations by NMFS regarding bottlenose dolphin; and the ramifications of landing summer flounder in Virginia.
Bobby Harrell - spoke against the proposal in the Southern Flounder FMP to require nighttime attendance with RCGL nets and would like to see an increase in the amount of gill net RCGL fishermen are allowed.
During the Issues from MFC Members portion of the agenda, Commissioner Currin encouraged the MFC to send letters to the state’s congressional delegation, the governor, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the dredging and maintenance of the Intracoastal Waterway and North Carolina’s inlets. Lack of funding for this work has serious safety and economic ramifications to our residents.
Chairman Johnson referred the concern, expressed at a previous public meeting by Andy High, regarding the quality of the South Atlantic Council’s black sea bass data to the Finfish Committee for consideration.
Commission Garrity-Blake expressed her concern that the commercial seat, previously held by Tilman Grey, has gone unfilled for a lengthy period of time.
2005 MFC Meeting Locations:
April 21-22 Kill Devil Hills
June 28-29 Raleigh
August 30-31 Atlantic Beach
Primary Nursery Area Rule Suspension-Mallard Bay [NCAC 15A 03R.0103(d)] – In updating rule coordinates, DMF staff discovered an inaccuracy in a PNA line in Mallard’s Bay in Brunswick County. In 1985 the boundary line was incorrectly recorded, which inadvertently opened a small portion of a PNA to shrimp trawling. The area is on the shoulder of the Intracoastal Waterway and at this time it is not clear if it still functions as a PNA. The DMF asked the MFC to suspend the portion of the rule that designates this area as a PNA and allow staff to conduct studies to ascertain if the area still meets PNA criteria.
Motion was made to suspend a portion of the Primary Nursery Area Rule [03R.0103 (15)(d)] that pertains to Mallard’s Bay to accommodate the situation – motion passed unanimously.
Spiny Dogfish Compliance Advisory Panel – Chairman Johnson and other commissioners discussed the lack of interest from the public to serve on this advisory panel.
River Herring Fishery Management Plan Advisory Committee Advisors - Riley Williams (Belvidere), Ronnie Smith (Edenton), Dr. Chuck Manooch (Morehead City), James Pierce (Williamston), Jesse Ambrose (Manns Harbor), Benny Scott (New Bern), Rick Hamil (Fountain), C. J. Belch (Roper), Herbert Byrum (Tyner), Leslie Gardner (Jamesville), Terry Pratt (Merry Hill), and Dr. Doug Rader (Raleigh)
2005 Public Hearings for Rulemaking - This rule package is proposed to be effective July 1, 2005 and includes the blue crab, striped bass, American lobster, dolphin, wahoo, Mallard Bay, and American shad rules.
The hearing dates and locations are as follows:
March 22 - Wilmington Regional Office
March 29 - Ground Floor Hearing Room, Archdale Building, Raleigh
April 5 - Washington Regional Office
April 20 - Clarion, Kill Devil Hills (prior to MFC meeting)
Advisor Appointments - The following are selections for the four standing and four regional advisory committees:
Habitat and Water Quality Committee- Jim Stephenson (Gloucester), Jim Banks (Jacksonville), Wayne Mathis (Buxton), and Buddy Faircloth (Wilmington)
Shellfish Committee - Elaine Davis (Davis), Jim Swartzenberg (Jacksonville), Larry Gill (Swanquarter)
Finfish Committee - Jeff Mcbane (Beaufort), Larry Coble (Southport), Glenn Montgomery (Beaufort), Bill Preast (Richlands)
Crustacean Committee - Mark Hooper (Smyrna), Dr. Martin Posey (Wilmington); Jimmy Lee (Oriental)
Inland Committee - Bill Christain (Sanford), Tom Smith (Charlotte), Dr. Hans Vogelburg (Grimesland)
Northeast Committee - Frank Folb (Avon), Owen Maxwell (Edenton), Fred Waterfield (Knotts Island), Riley Williams (Belvidere)
Central Committee - Bob Hines (New Bern), Pam Morris (Davis), Doug Sinclair (Alliance), David Hilton (Ocracoke)
Southeast Committee - David
Beresoff (Bolivia), Joe Clem (Wilmington), Andy High (Wilmington), and Bobbi
Motion: Motion was made to send conflict resolution letter to the leadership of the General Assembly – motion passed unanimously.
Reports were given on all the various MFC and FMP Committee Activities. The following motions are action items from those reports:
Motion was made to send letter requesting an environmental impact statement on the expansion of the Shine Landing Marina on Dawson’s Creek in Pamlico County – motion passed unanimously.
Motion was made to ask Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Bill Ross to review the express permitting process - motion passed unanimously.
Motion was made to publish notification of text for the under dock oyster cultivation rules – motion passed unanimously.
Motion was made to publish notification of text and have public hearings on shellfish lease rules – motion passed unanimously.
Southern Flounder FMP
The MFC had previously approved a draft Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan and sent it to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Bill Ross and to the Joint Legislative Study Commission on Seafood and Aquaculture for review. Seafood and Aquaculture members asked that the MFC review the issues of attendance of RCGL large mesh gill nets and the distance between pound nets and gill nets in the Albemarle Sound. The MFC received a review of the FMP recommendations and then discussed the two Seafood and Aquaculture items.
Motion was made to not change the minimum distance between pound net sets and gill nets in the Albemarle Sound (500 yards) for the Southern Flounder FMP – motion passed unanimously.
Motion was made to reconsider the gill net attendance requirement for Recreational Commercial Gear License holders south of the Hwy 58 (Emerald Isle) Bridge – motion passed.
Motion was made to require gill net attendance requirement for Recreational Commercial Gear License holders south of the Hwy 58 (Emerald Isle) Bridge – motion passed.
Motion was made to adopt the Southern Flounder FMP as previously recommended except for the two items just addressed – motion passed unanimously.
Motion was made to publish notification of text on all Southern Flounder FMP rules – motion passed unanimously.
Motion was made to implement as much of the Southern Flounder FMP management measures as possible, except the gill net and pound net mesh size restrictions, through proclamation by April 1, 2005 – motion passed without dissent.
The following is a summary of new management measures included in the Southern Flounder FMP include:
Effective April 1, 2005
· 14-inch size limit, eight fish harvest limit for recreational fishermen in internal waters;
· 14-inch size limit for commercial fishermen in internal waters;
· Recreational large mesh gill nets (5 ˝ inches or larger stretched mesh) must be attended at all times, south and west of the Emerald Isle Bridge in internal and ocean waters;
· Flounder pound nets must have an escape panel 5 ˝ inches or greater to allow small flounder to escape; and
· Commercial fishermen cannot use more than 3000 yards of flounder gill net per vessel, in internal waters.
· 1000-yard minimum distance between old and new pound nets and a 500-yard minimum distance between pound nets and gill nets in Albemarle Sound, from August 15 – December 1; and
· Closed commercial fishing season from December 1 – December 31.
· Persons using gigs recreationally must have a Recreational Commercial Gear License or other appropriate license.
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Nominations
There was consensus to not recommend anyone for the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council at-large vacancy.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Nominations
Motion: A motion was made to nominate Jimmy Ruhle, Joey Daniels and Billy Carl Tillett to the Mid-Atlantic Council’s obligatory seat, with Jimmy Ruhle being the preferred candidate – motion passed unanimously.
Coastal Habitat Protection Plan (CHPP)
An update was given of the status of the CHPP and the implementation plan schedule.
ASMFC Atlantic Croaker FMP Amendment 1 Public Information Document
Motion: Motion was made that the MFC supports the public information document and the letter regarding Atlantic croaker – motion passed unanimously.
NMFS Bottlenose Dolphin Proposed Rules
Motion: Motion was made to write a letter to NMFS regarding the proposed bottlenose dolphin rules stating that the MFC opposes the marking system, where nets are actively fished there is not a problem, and reconsider stop net and historical nearshore ocean fisheries – motion passed unanimously.
Motion to suggest to NMFS that they move the closure date 15 days to accommodate monkfish fishermen as part of the letter concerning bottlenose dolphin rules – motion passed unanimously.
Division of Marine Fisheries Director’s Report
Updates were given on the following topics:
- Saltwater Fishing License Update
- Menhaden Rule Suspension
- Summer Flounder
- Striped Bass
- River Herring
- Marine Patrol Report
- Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council
- Highly Migratory Species
- South Atlantic Fishery Management Council
2005 MFC Meeting Locations:
April 21-22 Kill Devil Hills
June 28-29 Raleigh
August 30-31 Atlantic Beach