SUPPORT SHELLFISH AQUACULTURE.

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 809 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 16, 2019
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FURTHER SUPPORT TO THE SHELLFISH AQUACULTURE INDUSTRY IN NORTH CAROLINA.
Intro. by McElraft, Yarborough, Shepard.

Status: Re-ref to the Com on Environment, if favorable, Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (House action) (Apr 25 2019)
H 809

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Apr 16 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; (2) water column leases must be terminated unless they produce the specified minimum number of bushes 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. Provides that the moratorium is to expire July 1, 2021. 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. Provides that the moratorium is to expire July 1, 2021. 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.

    Requires the Department of Marine Fisheries and the Marine Fisheries Commission to study how to reduce user conflict regarding shellfish cultivation leases. Requires the Department and Commission to complete the study by January 1, 2020, and adopt rules and reform operating procedures consistent with study findings by March 1, 2021.

    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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