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Newly amended fishery rules now in effect

Newly amended rules pertaining to special secondary nursery areas went into effect Saturday, May 1.

The rule changes, readopted by the Marine Fisheries Commission in February 2021 under a state-mandated periodic review schedule, reclassify nine Special Secondary Nursery Areas to Secondary Nursery Areas, as recommended by the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Amendment 1. The nine areas have not been opened to trawling since at least 2004, so there is no change to the shrimp trawl fishery. The reclassification results in additional small mesh gill net attendance requirements in most of the areas:

– Newport River, Cape Fear River, Lockwood Folly River and Saucepan Creek, where attendance in all waters from May 1 – Nov. 30 is now required.

– Pungo Creek, Slade Creek, South Creek and Bond/Muddy creeks, where year-round attendance within 200 yards of shore is maintained with an additional requirement of attendance in all waters from May 1- Nov. 30.

– Scranton Creek, which has no change in its small mesh gill net attendance requirements from the reclassification.

Additional rules pertaining to shellfish growing waters, processing of crustacea meat and oyster sanctuaries were also readopted and will go into effect May 1. Rules in 15A NCAC 03R and 18A:

– Amend the oyster sanctuaries rule by adding five new sites (Long Shoal, Little Creek, Pea Island, Raccoon Island and Swan Island), updating boundaries for three existing sites (Neuse River, West Bluff and Gibbs Shoal), and removing two sites that no longer function as sanctuaries (Ocracoke and Clam Shoal).

– Update shellfish sanitation laboratory procedures, sanitary survey reporting requirements, standards for classifying shellfish waters and definitions to conform with current national standards.

– Correct grammar, typographical errors, and update agency names.

Text of the readopted rules are to be posted Saturday in the May 1, 2021 Supplement to the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission Rules April 1, 2020 on the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission’s Rules and Regulations webpage. Until May 1, the April 1, 2021 Supplement to the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission Rules April 1, 2020 remained in effect.

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