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June 22, 2017 8:10 pm EST
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MOREHEAD CITY – Four advisory committees will meet jointly July 30 to discuss a petition for rulemaking that proposes reclassifying most internal coastal waters as secondary nursery areas.

The meeting will be held at 12:30 p.m. July 30 at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center, 203 South Front St., New Bern. To accommodate as many speakers as possible, public comment will be limited to three minutes per person.

The Finfish, Shellfish/Crustacean, Habitat and Water Quality and Sea Turtle advisory committees will be asked to review and comment on whether the state should reclassify waters as requested in a petition for rulemaking submitted June 20 by Tim Hergenrader.

The petition asks the Marine Fisheries Commission to adopt a rule that makes North Carolina’s internal coastal waters permanent secondary nursery areas, unless they are currently designated as primary nursery areas or special secondary nursery areas. The petition states the primary effect of the proposed rule would be to halt shrimp trawling in North Carolina inshore waters.

Under state law, the Marine Fisheries Commission has 120 days from the date a formal petition for rulemaking is submitted to either grant or deny the petition. The commission is expected to vote on the petition at its August 28-30 meeting in Raleigh.

If the commission grants the petition, it will begin a rulemaking process which will include fiscal analysis, notice of text in the state register, a public comment period and at least one public hearing.

Public comment will not be taken on this petition for rulemaking at any Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Advisory Committee meeting because the matter falls outside of the committee’s purview.

For more information, contact Nancy Fish, division liaison to the Marine Fisheries Commission, at 252-808-8021 or Nancy.Fish@ncdenr.gov.

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