Shrimp hangs on -- for now

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A proposal to close nearly 70,000 acres of N.C. coastal waters to shrimp trawling was nixed in a close vote by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission.

The commission voted 5-3, with one member abstaining, to not move forward with proposed regional area closures that would have prohibited trawling in most estuarine waters except for Pamlico Sound. However, the panel did vote to permanently close all shrimp trawling in crab sanctuaries; to prohibit trawling in Bogue Sound and its tributaries except for the Intracoastal Waterway; and prohibit trawling in the Carolina Yacht Basin, except for the Intracoastal Waterway.

The action regarding the state's Shrimp Fishery Management Plan came during the commission's Nov. 17-19, 2021, meetings at Islander Hotel in Emerald Isle, N.C.

Listen to public comments regarding the proposed Shrimp Fishery Management Plan amendment 

Regarding the state's Shrimp Fishery Management Plan, the commission also decided to:

The draft amendments to the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan now go for review by the Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and North Carolina legislative committees before coming back to the commission for final adoption in February.

Listen to the Marine Fisheries Commission discussion of the proposed Shrimp Fishery Management Plan amendment 

During the November meetings, the Marine Fisheries Commission also gave final approval to the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan 2021 Amendment. The CHPP is a long-term strategy to improve coastal fisheries through habitat protection and enhancement efforts. The CHPP amendment has already been approved by the N.C. Environmental Management Commission and the Coastal Resources Commission. It provides information on habitat distribution and abundance, ecological functions and importance to fish production, status and trends, and threats to the habitats, and includes recommendations to address those threats.

In other business, the Marine Fisheries Commission voted to:

-Tim Griner, a commercial fisherman and dealer from Charlotte and the current N.C. obligatory member on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
-Scott Buff, a commercial fisherman and dealer from Oak Island.
-Charlie Locke, a commercial fisherman from Wanchese.
-Thomas Newman, a commercial fisherman from Williamston.

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