North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for May 23, 2022 – 1

The NCFA urges everyone to offer comments on draft Amendment 2 to the Striped Bass FMP, to the NC Marine Fisheries Commission at their May 25-26 meeting, supporting lifting the prohibition on the use of gill nets in the upper Neuse and Pamlico Rivers.
In 2019 the MFC, through an “emergency meeting” with no public comment allowed, voted to force former DMF Director Steve Murphey to issue a proclamation prohibiting the use of all gill nets above the Ferry lines in the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. Prior to this emergency meeting the MFC had asked Director Murphey to issue the gill net ban, a request he declined, in the letter below, as it was not supported by science.
In response to the MFC’s actions DEQ Secretary Michael Regan issued the press release below condemning their actions. To our knowledge, this is the only time an acting Secretary has ever issued a press release publicly condemning any act of the Marine Fisheries Commission.
The below press release was issued in 2019
Contact: Megan S. Thorpe
Date: March 14, 2019
Phone: 919-618-0968
Secretary Regan’s Statement on Marine Fisheries
Commission’s Non-Emergency
RALEIGH — N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael S. Regan issued the following statement on the emergency meeting called by the Marine Fisheries Commission this week:
I am disappointed by the Marine Fisheries Commission calling an emergency meeting with only 48 hours notice for a non-emergency. The Commission used bad judgment in directing the Division of Marine Fisheries Director to take actions that contradict science and the recommendations of the division’s scientists. I certainly hope this is not a precedent we will see again from this Commission.
The statute empowering the Marine Fisheries Commission to direct issuance of gill net bans in certain areas does not authorize the Secretary or the Department discretion to
overturn such a directive.
Three years later, the only quantifiable impact of this net ban has been the negative impact to commercial fishermen and consumers. Amendment 2, to the Striped Bass FMP is the only opportunity, outside of a courtroom, to right this intolerable wrong. It is imperative that everyone voices their opposition to the continuation of this unnecessary net ban!
The CCA and likely some of the MFC members who support their agenda wish to see this net ban extended to close the entire Neuse and Pamlico Rivers to the use of all gill nets, with no scientific justification for doing so. If they were to succeed, how long will it be before they attempt to close all inside waters to gillnetting?
We strongly urge everyone to demand that the MFC lift these net bans and return to the gill net regulations which were in place prior to the 2019 prohibition.
For more information you can reach out to NCFA Executive Director, Glenn skinner.
Glenn Skinner
Executive Director-
North Carolina Fisheries Association, Inc.
101 N. 5th Street
Morehead City NC 28557
MEDIA ADVISORY: Marine Fisheries Commission to meet May 25-26 in Beaufort
MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will meet in-person May 25-26 at the Beaufort Hotel,
2440 Lennoxville Road, Beaufort. The meeting will also be livestreamed on YouTube.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25 and at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 26.
The commission will hold in-person public comment sessions at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 and near the beginning of the meeting on Thursday, May 26. Public comment will not be taken through web conference.
The following information pertains to in-person public comment:
· Those who wish to speak may sign up at the hotel beginning at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 25.
· To accommodate as many speakers as possible, the chair will limit each speaker to 3 minutes.
· Those making comments will be asked to speak only once, either Wednesday night or Thursday morning, but not during both public comment periods.
· Those who wish to submit handouts to the commission during a public comment period should bring at least 12 copies to the meeting.
The public may also submit written comments via the following methods:
· An online form accessible through the Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting webpage.
· Mail to May 2022 Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557.
· Dropped off at the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Morehead City Headquarters Office at 3441 Arendell St., Morehead City.
Written comments must be received by 4 p.m. Monday, May 23.
The YouTube link will be posted on the Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting webpage. After the meeting, a recording will be posted online.
Agenda items include:
·        Final approval of Amendment 3 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan.
·        Final approval of the N.C. Fishery Management Plan for Interjurisdictional Fisheries Information Update.
·        Selection of preferred management for Amendment 2 to the Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan.
·        Presentation on the 2022 Striped Mullet Stock Assessment Report.
N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission
Quarterly Business Meeting
May 25 at 6 p.m.
May 26 at 9 a.m.
The Beaufort Hotel
2440 Lennoxville Road, Beaufort
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