MEDIA ADVISORY: Division of Marine Fisheries announces scoping period on estuarine striped bass

MOREHEAD CITY

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are developing Amendment 2 to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan. The Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a public scoping period Nov. 2-15, 2020 to solicit public comments on potential management strategies for the upcoming amendment.

There are two geographic management units included in Amendment 2. The northern geographic management unit comprises two harvest management areas: the Albemarle Sound Management Area and the Roanoke River Management Area. The southern geographic management unit is the Central Southern Management Area (CSMA) and includes all internal coastal, joint, and contiguous inland waters of North Carolina south of the Albemarle Sound Management Area to the South Carolina state line.

The primary management strategy for Amendment 2 is long-term sustainable harvest in the estuarine striped bass fisheries. The benchmark assessment for the Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River stock indicates the striped bass resource is overfished and overfishing is occurring. There is no stock status determination for the CSMA stocks. Continuous stocking efforts and lack of natural recruitment in these waters prevent the use of traditional stock assessment techniques.

A scoping document outlining the potential management strategies can be found on the division’s Information on Estuarine Striped Bass Amendment webpage.

Beginning Nov. 2, members of the public may submit written comments through an online form or through the mail to N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, Striped Bass Scoping, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Comments must be posted online or be received by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries by 5 p.m. Nov. 15, 2020.

Also, fisheries stakeholders can provide live comments at two scoping meetings that will be held via web conference Nov. 5 and Nov. 9. Both web meetings will begin at 6 p.m. and end on schedule at 8 p.m. The public may join the meetings online; however, those who wish to comment during the meeting must register to speak by noon on the day of the meeting. Individuals will be allotted three minutes each for comment on a first-come-first-served basis. Comments will continue in order of registration and be balanced across management areas.

Links to the scoping document, public comment questionnaire, and meeting information can be found on the division’s Information on Estuarine Striped Bass Amendment webpage.

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