Division of Marine Fisheries public comment period open on Shrimp Fishery Management

MOREHEAD CITY

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is accepting public comment on proposed management changes to further reduce bycatch of non-target species and minimize ecosystem impacts. 

Draft Amendment 2 to the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan contains a suite of management options that range broadly from status quo to a complete closure of all inside waters, including Pamlico Sound, to shrimp trawling. They include:

  • Area closures to protect submerged aquatic vegetation or oyster beds;
  • Shrimp management of Special Secondary Nursery Areas;
  • Creating permanent or seasonal closures in the Pamlico Sound region;
  • Shrimp trawl gear modifications; and
  • Shrimp trawl effort limitations.

Draft Shrimp Amendment 2 also includes a shrimp trawl bycatch information paper which discusses data needs to estimate the amount of bycatch from the shrimp trawl fishery, methods for estimating bycatch reduction and impacts on common bycatch species. Additionally, one objective of the plan is to evaluate and address nursery area designations through the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan.

The public may comment on Draft Shrimp Amendment 2 in three ways:

  1. Sign Up to Speak at an Advisory Committee Meeting – Public comment will be accepted at the three Marine Fisheries Commission Advisory Committee meetings listed below. Those who wish to speak at the meetings must register by 5 p.m. the day before the meeting.
  2. Submit Online Comments – Public comments will be accepted through an online form until 5 p.m. on June 30. Click here to submit comments online.
  3. Mail Comments – Written comments may be mailed to Draft Shrimp FMP Amendment 2 Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Comments must be received by the division 5 p.m. on June 30.

Emailed comments will not be accepted.

Five Marine Fisheries Commission Advisory Committees are scheduled to review and accept public comment on Draft Shrimp Amendment 2. The committees will meet by web conference as follows:

Joint Northern and Southern Regional Advisory Committees
June 15 at 6 p.m.

Register to speak by 5 p.m. June 14

Joint Shellfish/Crustacean and Finfish Advisory Committees
June 16 at 6 p.m.

Register to speak by 5 p.m. June 15 

Habitat and Water Quality Advisory Committee
June 17 at 6 p.m.

Register to speak by 5 p.m. June 16 

Meeting links and agendas are available on the Marine Fisheries Commission Advisory Committees Meetings webpage.

More specifics on the Draft Shrimp Amendment 2 can be found on the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 Information webpage
 
The Marine Fisheries Commission is scheduled to consider public comment and advisory committee input and select its preferred management measures for departmental and legislative review at its August business meeting and give final approval of the amendment in November 2021.
 
For more information contact division biologists Chris Stewart at 910-796-7291, Jason Rock at 252-808-8091, or Daniel Zapf at 252-946-6481.

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