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September 12, 2012

Public Comment Sought on Shrimp Trawling and Bycatch

CCA NC is urging anglers to comment on the future of shrimp and southern flounder management plans in North Carolina at a series of four public meetings to be held in the coming weeks.

The topic of shrimp trawling will be discussed and comments allowed. North Carolina is the last state on the Atlantic Coast to allow extensive commercial shrimp trawling in internal waters. Recent studies by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) indicate that shrimp trawlers destroy small fish every year and bycatch needs to be reduced. A significant portion of this “bycatch” consists of weakfish, croaker, and spot, and these finger-sized fish are destroyed before they reach breeding age and this remains our concern.

Also at these meetings, comments on the Southern Flounder Plan will be accepted. Since 2010, commercial southern flounder management has revolved around reducing sea turtle interactions with fishing gear.  Protected species management measures have changed many times in the last two years, making it difficult for scientists to assess the impact of harvest restrictions on southern flounder stocks.

After receiving public comment and a review by the advisory committees, the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will decide at its November meeting whether to proceed with the revision or switch to an amendment process. Your comments can make a huge difference in the outcome!

Online copies of the draft shrimp revision and draft southern flounder amendment can be found at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/fmps-under-development.

 Comment periods will be held in conjunction with Marine Fisheries Commission regional advisory committee meetings set for:

 

Sept. 19 at 4 p.m.

Southern Advisory Committee Meeting

N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Wilmington Regional Office

127 Cardinal Drive Extension

Wilmington, NC

 

Sept. 27 at 4 p.m.

Northern Advisory Committee Meeting

Vernon G. James Research & Extension Center

207 Research Station Road

Plymouth, NC

 

Oct. 2 at 6 p.m.

Shellfish/Crustacean Meeting

Craven County Cooperative Extension Office

300 Industrial Drive

New Bern, NC

 

Oct. 2 at 1:30 p.m.

Habitat and Water Quality Meeting

N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Washington Regional Office

943 Washington Square Mall

Washington, NC

 If you cannot attend a meeting, your comments can be emailed to Ms. Nancy Fish nancy.fish@ncdenr.gov. This is a rare opportunity for those who care about our marine fisheries to help change how they are managed and we must not let it slip past. Please attend a meeting or send an email and let your voices be heard!

–– Source: CCA North Carolina