THE MFC ADVISOR
Marine Fisheries Commission Business Meeting
Wilmington, North Carolina
April 27-28, 2006
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 252-726-7021 or 1-800-682-2632.
The MFC held a business meeting April 27-28 at the Hilton Riverfront Hotel in Wilmington, North Carolina. The business meeting was called to order followed by an invocation. The following members were in attendance: Mac Currin - Chairman, Charlie Adams, David Beresoff, Dr. Barbara Garrity-Blake, Bryan Gillikin, David Hilton, Rusty Russ and Bradley Styron. Dr. B.J. Copeland, Vice Chairman, had an excused absence.
Motions and Actions
Motion to approve minutes from the February 2006 MFC meeting with modifications – passed unanimously.
Issues from Commissioners
A lengthy discussion was held about the level of dissatisfaction with federal and interstate fisheries management felt by commercial and charter boat fishermen and many MFC members. This frustration is compounded by high fuel prices, loss of infrastructure such as fish houses and docks, cheap imports, declining catches, etc. Withdrawing from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission was discussed, but several members felt they needed more information on the implications of such an action.
Motion was made for North Carolina to consider withdrawing from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission – passed.
The MFC has scheduled a meeting May 22 to be held at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City beginning at 10 a.m. to explore the legal options and management implications of withdrawing from the ASMFC.
The following advisory committee assignments were made:
Inland – George Earp (Holly Springs)
Northeast – Terry Reigel (Columbia)
Central – Steve Dillion (Belhaven), Joe Don Sawyer (Scranton)
Red Drum Fishery Management Plan – Still need advisors from the southeast.
Motion was made to send a letter to Doug Huggett with the Division of Coastal Management recommending denial of the Peninsula at Topsail Island major development permit application – passed unanimously.
Motion was made to send a letter to J.P. McCann, Director of the N.C. Aquarium to request the Oyster Hatchery Planning advisory Committee consider multiple use of hatchery facilities to include other species of shellfish such as bay scallops and hard clams – passed unanimously.
The MFC received a report from Tom Reeder, from the N.C. Division of Water Quality, regarding whether current stormwater rules are adequately protecting shellfishing waters. The conclusion was that current coastal stormwater management program rules are inadequate to protect existing uses of coastal waters.
Motion was made to send a letter to Dr. David Moreau, Chairman of the N.C. Environmental Management Commission, advising him that the MFC plans to petition the EMC to amend the state Stormwater Program to achieve the goal of state and federal anti-degradation requirements to prevent loss of existing uses – passed unanimously.
Motion was made to send a letter to Dr. David Moreau, Chairman of the N.C. Environmental Management Commission, expressing multiple concerns with the proposed rules for the Universal Stormwater Management Program - passed unanimously.
Coastal Recreational Fishing License Draft Strategic Plan
The MFC received an overview of the draft strategic plan to develop expenditure criteria and categories for revenues derived from the Coastal Recreational Fishing License.
Motion was made to endorse the Coastal Recreational Fishing License Strategic Plan - passed unanimously.
Striped Mullet Fishery Management Plan
The MFC voted to approve the Striped Mullet Fishery Management Plan, which includes information on the nature and concerns of the fishery, and habitat and water quality issues. The plan can be viewed at http://www.ncdmf.net/fmps/index.html. The goal of the FMP was to develop recommendations to address management issues and concerns, which the MFC and DMF will implement. The major changes resulting from the Striped Mullet FMP are:
Allowing fishermen using striped mullet as bait to be exempted from the mutilated finfish rule – 03M.0101; and
Restricting the recreational harvest of striped mullet to 200 mullet per person per day – 03M.0502.
For more information about the proposed shrimp rules, please contact Rich Carpenter at 800-248-4536 or 910-796-7215.
Motion was made to adopt the Striped Mullet Fishery Management Plan – passed unanimously.
Motion was made to adopt 03M.0101 and 03M.0502 (see above bullets) - passed unanimously.
ShrimpFishery Management Plan
The MFC voted to approve the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan, which includes information on the nature and concerns of the fishery, and habitat and water quality issues. The plan can be viewed at http://www.ncdmf.net/fmps/index.html. The goal of the FMP was to develop recommendations to address management issues and concerns, which the MFC and DMF will implement. The major changes resulting from the Shrimp FMP are:
Limit the length of trawl headropes to 90 feet in inshore waters, except in the Pamlico Sound and portions of the Neuse and Pamlico rivers - 03L.0103;
Allow skimmer trawls with a headrope of less than 26 feet to be used by Recreational Commercial Gear License holders - 030.0302 (a.); and
Implement a 48-quart cooler heads on (30-qt. cooler heads off) per person possession limit on recreationally caught shrimp – 030.0302(e).
Closing the following areas to trawling – 03R.0106:
Newport River upstream of a point running from Penn Point to Hardesty Farms;
White Oak River upstream of Hancock Point;
Intracoastal Waterway from Marker #105 to Wrightsville Beach drawbridge;
Cape Fear River in the bays south of Fort Fisher and the Baldhead Island creeks; and
Core Sound along the banks side north of Drum Inlet to Wainwright Island.
Closing the following areas to shrimp trawling – 03R.0114:
Neuse River upstream of a point running from Wilkinson Point to Cherry Point;
Pamlico River upstream of Wades Point and Goose Creek; and
Pungo River upstream of Wades Point and Abels Bay.
The MFC will also establish a four-year phase out of otter trawls, to be replaced with skimmer trawls, in the New River, upstream of the Hwy. 172 Bridge. This rule will not be considered until after the four-year phase out period has ended.
The MFC agreed to have the Division of Marine Fisheries director issue a proclamation restricting channel nets in the upper New River and Topsail Sound area when these areas are closed to mobile gear. It was also agreed to have the division prohibit by proclamation any portion of a channel net set in the marked channel from the Intracoastal Waterway to New River Inlet.
Motion was made to adopt the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan – passed unanimously.
Motion was made to adopt to adopt rules to implement the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan (see above bullets) - passed unanimously.
Striped Bass Commercial Ocean Fishery
Motion was made to send letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service endorsing Option 1 as described in the Federal Register dated April 24, 2006, which discusses options to open the EEZ to harvest of Atlantic Striped Bass – passed unanimously.
Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Team
Motion was made to send a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service requesting an explanation why North Carolina fishermen were not allowed to serve on the Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Team – passed unanimously.
Rules – Notice of Text
Motion was made to initiate rulemaking/publish notification of text to ensure recreational tournament rules are compatible - 03O.0102 – passed unanimously.
Motion was made to initiate rulemaking/publish notification of text designate Dicks Creek in Carteret County as a PNA – 03R.0103 – passed unanimously.
Motion was made to initiate rulemaking/publish notification of text for stone crab rules – 03L.0208 - passed unanimously.
Motion was made to initiate rulemaking/publish notification of text for technical modifications to the Coastal Recreational Fishing License blanket licenses – passed unanimously.
Upcoming MFC Meetings 2006:
June 27-28 Raleigh, Brownstone Hotel
Sept. 28-29 Atlantic Beach
Nov. 30-Dec.1 Hatteras