Marine Fisheries Commission to meet May 16 & 17

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Regulators may vote on new gear required for shrimp trawls

In January of 2017, prior to a similar Marine Fisheries Commission meeting, dozens of fishing trawlers showed up in the Neuse River as a way to protest proposed new rules.

NEW BERN — The appointed nine-member board responsible for regulating the state’s commercial fishing industry convenes at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16, with another session scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, 17.

Everything happens at the DoubleTree Hotel, adjacent to the Riverfront Convention Center in downtown New Bern.


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A public comment period will be held at 6 p.m. May 16. Members of the public may speak to the commission on any fisheries-related topic. The chairman will allow each speaker to comment for up to three minutes.

The deadline for submitting written comments to the commission, including email, through the Marine Fisheries Commission Office, is May 11. Those who wish to forego this process and give handouts to the commission during the public comment period should bring at least 12 copies of the handout.

The commission is scheduled to discuss and possibly vote on controversial new gear requirements in the shrimp trawl fishery. A three- year study between the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, NOAA Fisheries, N.C Sea Grant and the commercial shrimp trawl industry identified four new gear configurations that reduce finfish bycatch by at least 40 percent.

Other agenda items include a presentation on the N.C. Blue Crab Stock Assessment; a presentation on potential solutions to address shellfish lease conflicts. The commission is also scheduled to vote on nominations for Region 4 Strategic Habitat Areas for inclusion in the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan.

The public may listen to the meeting on the Internet. Up to 200 participants may listen to audio and view presentations in real-time on a first-come, first-served basis. Following the meeting, an audio recording will be posted online.

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