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April 28, 2017 6:20 am EST
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 MOREHEAD CITY – The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission will convene for two days instead of three when it meets Feb. 15-16, at Hilton Wilmington Riverside, 301 N. Water St., Wilmington.


Under this new schedule, the business meeting will begin at noon Wednesday, Feb. 15 and at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 16.

A public comment period will begin at 3 p.m. Feb. 15. Members of the public may speak to the commission on any fisheries-related topic, including comments on the North Carolina Wildlife Federation Petition for Rulemaking.

The petition asks the commission to designate all coastal fishing waters not otherwise designated as nursery areas (including the Atlantic Ocean out to three miles from shore) as special secondary nursery areas; establish clear criteria for the opening of shrimp season; and define the type of gear and how and when gear may be used in special secondary nursery areas during shrimp season.

Members of the public who signed up to speak on the petition at a Jan. 17 meeting, but whose names were not called because time ran out, will be allowed to speak first during this comment period.

The chairman will allow each speaker to comment for up to three minutes, and a person may only speak once during the comment period. No other public comment period is slated for the commission’s business meeting.

The deliberation and vote on the petition for rulemaking is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 16.

The deadline for submitting written comments on the petition for rulemaking has passed. The deadline for submitting any other written correspondence to the commission, including email, through the Marine Fisheries Commission Office is noon Feb. 10. Those who wish to forego this process and give handouts to the commission during the public comment period should bring at least 12 copies of the handout.

The public may listen to the meeting on the Internet. Up to 200 participants may listen to audio and view presentations in real-time on a first-come, first-served basis. Directions for participating in the webcast, including information on system requirements and testing, can be found here. Following the meeting, an audio recording will be posted online.

Other agenda items for this meeting include:

·         Discussion of potential cobia management measures in state waters.

·         Final approval of Amendment 2 to the Hard Clam Fishery Management Plan and Amendment 4 to the
Oyster Fishery Management and associated rules.
 

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