SUPPORT SHELLFISH AQUACULTURE.

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
Senate Bill 648 (Public) Filed Wednesday, April 3, 2019
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FURTHER SUPPORT TO THE SHELLFISH AQUACULTURE INDUSTRY IN NORTH CAROLINA.
Intro. by Sanderson, Rabon.

Status: Ch. SL 2019-37 (Jun 21 2019)

Bill History:

S 648/S.L. 2019-37

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Jun 21 2019 - More information

    AN ACT TO PROVIDE FURTHER SUPPORT TO THE SHELLFISH AQUACULTURE INDUSTRY IN NORTH CAROLINA. Enacted June 21, 2019. Effective July 1, 2019.


  • Summary date: May 2 2019 - More information

    Senate committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.

    Makes organizational changes.

    Now requires shellfish leases to be terminated unless they comply with the following: (1) franchises and shellfish bottom leases must be terminated unless they produce at least 20 bushels rather than 40 bushels of shellfish per acre or the holder of the lease purchases 23,000 shellfish seed per acre annually rather than 45,000 and plants at least 15,000 shellfish seed per acre annually rather than 30,000 and (2) water column leases must be terminated unless they produce at least 50 bushels of shellfish per acre rather than 100 or the holder of the lease purchases at least 23,000 shellfish seed per acre annually rather than 45,000. 

    Amends GS 113-202(n) to authorize the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to, upon termination of any leasehold, make the bottom available for a new lease application for a period of 18 months, designate the bottom as a Shellfish Aquaculture Enterprise Area, or make the bottom open to the public for use in accordance with applicable laws and rules governing the use of general public grounds (previously, final termination of any leasehold threw open the bottom in question to the public for use in accordance with applicable laws). Requires former leaseholders to remove abandoned gear within 30 days of final termination of the leasehold (previously limited requirement to markers), and allows the State to remove abandoned gear after 10 days' notice to the owner and charge the owner for the cost. Amends subsection (a), which sets forth minimum standards for suitable areas for the production of shellfish to allow the area leased to contain a natural shellfish bed as provided in subsection (n), as amended. Applies to leases terminated on or after July 1, 2019.

    Sunsets the proposed moratorium on new shellfish cultivation leases and new water column leases for aquaculture in the specified waters in the New Hanover County areas on July 1, 2021. Modifies the specified waters' metes and bounds description.

    Sunsets the proposed moratorium on new shellfish cultivation leases and new water column leases for aquaculture in the specified waters in Bogue Sound on July 1, 2021.

    Specifies that the proposed changes to GS 143B-289.57 (requiring the Marine Fisheries Commission to appoint a three-member Shellfish Cultivation Lease Review Committee to hear appeals of decisions made by the Secretary regarding shellfish cultivation leases) and GS 113-202(g) (regarding contesting shellfish cultivation lease decisions) apply to decisions of the Secretary made on or after July 1, 2019.

    Directs the Division of Marine Fisheries and the Marine Fisheries Commission to study how to reduce user conflict related to shellfish cultivation leases by January 1, 2020, and adopt rules and reform internal operating procedures consistent with the study's findings by March 1, 2021.

    Directs the NC Coastal Federation (Federation) to study a low-interest loan program to provide start-up and expansion capital to shellfish growers in state waters. Details required elements of the study, including investigating and recommending optimal loan terms and limitations on loan amounts and uses. Allows the Federation to use administrative funds provided under SL 2018-5 for the crab pot cleanup program to conduct the study. Directs the Federation to report to the specified NCGA committee and division by March 15, 2020.

    Directs the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to study crop insurance and other risk of loss mitigation and protection programs available to persons engaging in shellfish aquaculture in the state. Details required components of the study, including identifying options for insurance or other risk protection programs subsidized or underwritten by the State and whether the option would provide sufficient spread of risk to be an actuarially sound investment of public funds. Requires the DACS to report to the specified NCGA committee and division by November 1, 2020.


  • Summary date: Apr 9 2019 - More information

    Amends GS 113-202 to allow the Secretary of Environmental Quality (Secretary) to establish Shellfish Aquaculture Enterprise Areas for bottom leasing. Allows for the establishment of one or more areas. Sets out requirements for the areas, including compliance with the statute's notice, public hearing, and public comment requirements. Leases are nontransferable and revert to the State upon relinquishment or termination. Amends GS 113-202.1 to allow the Secretary to establish Shellfish Aquaculture Enterprise Areas for water column leasing. Allows for the establishment of one or more areas. Sets out requirements for the areas, including compliance with the statute's notice, public hearing, and public comment requirements. Leases are nontransferable and revert to the State upon relinquishment or termination. Amends GS 113-201.1 by adding and defining the term shellfish aquaculture enterprise area. Requires the Division of Marine Fisheries to identify areas in waters that are under a moratorium for shellfish leasing that could potentially be established as shellfish aquaculture enterprise areas and reports its findings to the NCGA by April 1, 2020. 

    Allows the Secretary to grant up to three shellfish cultivation leases or water column leases in Pamlico Sound under a pilot program. Sets out additional parameters concerning the size of the lease, proximity to other leases and the shoreline, and limits on the acreage held by a single person or entity. Requires the Division of Marine Fisheries (Division), to the extent practicable, to grant leases in different geographic areas of Pamlico Sound. Requires the Division to study the advantages and disadvantages associated with leasing such areas within Pamlico Sound. Requires an interim report to the General Assembly by January 1, 2025, and a final report by January 1, 2030. Requires the final report to include a recommendation on whether the pilot project should be terminated, made permanent, or expanded. This section terminates July 1, 2030, and any leases granted pursuant to this section terminate no later than July 1, 2031.

    Requires shellfish leases to be terminated unless they comply with the following: (1) franchises and shellfish bottom leases must be terminated unless they produce the required minimum bushels of shellfish per acre or the holder of the lease plants the specified minimum of shellfish seed per acre and (2) water column leases must be terminated unless they produce the specified minimum number of bushels of shellfish per acre or the holder of the lease purchases the specified minimum number of shellfish seed per acre. Requires the Marine Fisheries Commission to adopt a rule to amend the Shellfish Production Requirements Rule so that it is consistent with the above specifications. This section and rules adopted under this section apply to all new and renewal shellfish leases granted after July 1, 2019. 

    Requires the Division to study, in consultation with the two specified entities, the penalties associated with violations of laws on taking shellfish and shellfish aquaculture operations including the specified statutes. Requires considering the levels of criminal penalties, fines, and restitution; the consistency and proportionality of the statutes; and whether any of the statutes or their provisions are duplicative. Requires a report to the NCGA by March 1, 2020.

    Amends GS 113-203 to allow transplanting seed oysters or seed clams taken from permitted aquaculture operations that use water in the prohibited classification to private beds. Places a limitation on all of the allowable transplants (whether they are from operations using waters in the prohibited, restricted, or conditionally approved classification) when the Secretary determines that the nursery of shellfish in an area will present a risk to public health.

    Places a moratorium on new shellfish cultivation leases and new water column leases for aquaculture in the specified waters in the New Hanover County areas. New shellfish cultivation leases or water column leases include applications for either type of lease received by the Secretary, but not granted as of July 1, 2019.

    Places a moratorium on new shellfish cultivation leases and new water column leases for aquaculture in the specified waters in Bogue Sound. New shellfish cultivation leases or water column leases include applications for either type of lease received by the Secretary but not granted as of July 1, 2019.

    Amends GS 143B-289.57 to require the Marine Fisheries Commission to appoint a three-member Shellfish Cultivation Lease Review Committee to hear appeals of decisions made by the Secretary regarding shellfish cultivation leases. Sets out requirements for membership.

    Amends GS 113-202 to extend the time period under which an applicant for a shellfish cultivation lease may commence a contested case. Limits when a person other than the applicant who is aggrieved by the Secretary's decision may file a petition for a contested case hearing to instances when the Shellfish Cultivation Lease Committee determines a hearing is appropriate. Sets out further provisions governing applying for, timing of, and criteria for making such a determination. Makes the determination that a person may not commence a contested case subject to judicial review. Allows an applicant or another person aggrieved by a final decision to appeal the decision to the superior court of the county where the proposed shellfish cultivation lease or any part thereof is located.

    Includes a severability clause.

    Effective July 1, 2019, unless otherwise provided.


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