The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission adopted the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 during its February 2022 business meeting. The goal of Amendment 2 is to further reduce bycatch of non-target species and minimize ecosystem impacts.
Management measures include:
- Prohibit all trawling in crab spawning sanctuaries year-round.
- Prohibit trawling in Bogue Sound and the Carolina Beach Yacht Basin, except within the Intracoastal Waterway.
- Simplify the recreational creel limit for cast nets to a single, state-wide limit (48 quarts, heads on or 30 quarts, heads off).
- Change the flexible opening date in all Special Secondary Nursery Areas to a static Sept. 1, if deemed appropriate by the DMF Director.
- Continue collaboration with the industry workgroup to identify and test gear modifications to further reduce bycatch in the shrimp fishery.
- Provide for adaptive management for future action to address issues related to submerged aquatic vegetation identified through Division collaboration with the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan support staff, the Habitat and Water Quality Advisory Committee, and stakeholder groups.
- Maintain existing headrope limits for shrimp trawls in internal coastal waters but allow for adaptive management to resolve user conflicts.
- Investigate the feasibility and use of a long-term shrimp trawl observer program that encompasses all seasons, areas, and gears.
The Division is working on implementing management from the plan.
At its May 2021 business meeting, the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission voted to send Draft Shrimp FMP Amendment 2 out for public comment and standing and regional advisory committee review. The draft amendment focuses on reducing bycatch of non-target species and minimizing habitat impacts. It includes a suite of options ranging broadly from status quo to a complete closure of all inside waters to shrimp trawling.
The public may comment on Draft Shrimp Amendment 2 in three ways:
- Sign Up to Speak at an Advisory Committee Meeting – Public comment will be accepted at the three Marine Fisheries Commission Advisory Committee meetings listed below. Those who wish to speak at the meetings must register by 5 p.m. the day prior to the meeting.
- Submit Online Comments – Public comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. on June 30 through an online form.
- Mail Comments – Written comments may be mailed to Draft Shrimp FMP Amendment 2 Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Comments must be received by the division 5 p.m. on June 30.
Emailed comments will not be accepted.
Five Marine Fisheries Commission Advisory Committees are scheduled to review and accept public comment on Draft Shrimp Amendment 2. The committees will meet electronically as follows:
Joint Northern and Southern Regional Advisory Committees
Habitat and Water Quality Advisory Committee
Meeting links are available on the Marine Fisheries Commission Advisory Committees Meetings webpage.
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries held Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Advisory Committee workshops over several days in March 2021 to review draft Amendment 2 to the plan. The shrimp advisory committee assisted the division by providing input for consideration to refine management options in draft Amendment 2. Workshop-style meetings allow scientists, managers, and stakeholders to address questions, comments, and concerns more effectively and in a less formal setting. Based on the outcome of the workshops, the division revised draft Amendment 2 and presented it to the Marine Fisheries Commission at its May 2021 business meeting.
A scoping document period was held Jan. 7-21, 2020 to solicit public comments on potential management strategies for Amendment 2. Fisheries stakeholders provided in-person comments at three scoping meetings that were held in Washington, Morehead City, and Wilmington.