AN ACT TO REFORM THE MANAGEMENT OF MARINE FISHERIES IN NORTH CAROLINA.
Amends GS 113-182.1 to require the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to prepare Fishery Management Plan Amendments in addition to the already required Fishery Management Plans and makes conforming changes throughout to make provisions related to Plans also applicable to the Amendments. Adds that in the case of interjurisdictional fisheries stocks or species for which the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Compact (ASMFC) has prepared a Fishery Management Plan, the State may adopt that plan as its Fishery Management Plan if the portion of the stock or species residing in North Carolina would meet the definition of sustainable harvest if managed separately from the ASMFC plan. Amends the requirements of Fishery Management Plans and Fishery Management Plan Amendments to now require that they (1) also include information pertaining to management strategies and no longer require including an assessment for multiyear species; (2) include adaptive management measures that address the long-term viability, recovery, and conservation of stocks to ensure a sustainable harvest, including all of the specified limits, assessments, and measures; (3) amend the required conservation and management measures to no longer require consideration of food production, and to include commercial opportunities, and to no longer require production of a sustainable harvest; (4) remove the exemption for the requirement to specify a time period not to exceed two years to end overfishing, in instances when it is determined that the biology of the fish, environmental conditions, or lack of data make implementing the requirements incompatible with professional standards for fisheries management; (5) report to the Commission at the Commission's first regular meeting following the end of the two year period, on whether overfishing has ended and sets out actions that must be taken if the Plan or Amendment have been insufficient to end overfishing within two years; and (6) no longer include the exceptions in other requirements for instances in which it is determined that the biology of the fish, environmental conditions, or lack of data make implementing the requirements incompatible with professional standards for fisheries management. Makes additional clarifying changes. Deletes the provisions related to fishery management plan advisory committees. Adds provisions for annual updates and for the retirement of a Fishery Management Plan or Fishery Management Plan Amendment. Allows the Secretary to authorize the development of a Fishery Management Plan Supplement to an existing Plan or Amendment if the Secretary, in consultation with the Fisheries Director, determines that it is in the interest of maintaining a sustainable harvest for a fishery. Sets out the requirements for the Supplements, which are temporary. Effective July 1, 2019, and applies to Plans and Amendments developed or adopted on or after that date.
Amends GS 113-221.1 to require proclamations that suspend or implement particular rules of the Commission whose application may be affected by variable conditions to be consistent with management measures adopted under GS 113-182.1 or as otherwise provided by Commission rules.
Amends provisions related to the Commission as follows. Amends GS 143B-289.52 to require that rules adopted by the Commission and management measures in the rules be based on recognized fishery management standards and the best available scientific, technical, and economic data. Amends the Commission's duties to allow delegating to the Director the authority by proclamation to suspend or implement a particular rule of the Commission that may be affected by variable circumstances to a fishery resource or habitat. Makes conforming changes to the duty to adopt a Fishery Management Plan to include duties related to Plan Amendments. Specifies that the Commission's power to establish standards and adopt rules to regulate the importation and exportation of fish and equipment that may be used in taking or processing fish includes non-native species. Allows the Commission to regulate participation in a fishery subject to a federal fishery management plan if it imposes a quota or allocation (was, quota only) on the State for the harvest or landing of fish in the fishery. Allows the Commission to use any additional criteria aside from holding coastal recreational fishing licenses.
Amends GS 143B-289.54 by amending the requirements for Commission membership by (1) requiring that two members be engaged in or retired from commercial fishing demonstrated by deriving at least 50% of annual earned income from selling wild and aquaculture (was, income from taking and selling fishery) resources in coastal fishing waters of the state; (2) requiring that one person be engaged in the for-hire or sports fishing industries (was, sports fishing industry only); and (3) requiring that the already described appointee who is a fisheries scientist be recognized as such. Requires that the membership include at least one person who is a resident of the three named regions (was, more generally, a resident of each of the three coastal regions). Allows a person serving on the Commission at the time that the act becomes law to continue to serve for their remaining term even if they no longer meet the qualifications of amended GS 143B-289.54.
Repeals GS 143B-289.57, which concerned the Marine Fisheries Commission Advisory Committees.
Amends GS 113-136, concerning the enforcement authority of inspectors and protectors, as follows. Separates out provisions related to an inspector's request to exhibit any item required to be carried by law so that they are separate from the same provisions related to protectors. Makes it unlawful to refuse to allow inspectors or other law enforcement officers to inspect equipment and fish that the officer reasonably believes to be possessed incident to an activity regulated by any law or rule as to which inspectors have enforcement jurisdiction (previously allowed for a broader list that also applied to protectors); makes conforming changes.
Amends GS 113-129 to define non-native species. Also amends the definition of sustainable harvest to mean the amount of fish that can be taken from a fishery on a continuing basis without causing the fishery to become overfished or reducing the stock biomass of the fishery below levels commensurate with the public trust nature of the resource.
Amends GS 113-132 by providing that the Commission's jurisdiction includes the regulation of aquaculture facilities that cultivate or rear marine and estuarine resources, marine aquatic species, or non-native species (was, estuarine resources only).
Amends GS 113-170 to allow Commission rules to include regulating, licensing, prohibiting, or restricting holding or maintaining in marine aquaculture operations in the state, as well as exportation of non-native species.
Amends GS 113-170.3 to include within those records that are not public records and that are to be treated as confidential (1) specified records received by the Department and (2) confidential federal fishery data and records concerning species significant to the State that are maintained by and received from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Repeals GS 113-181, which made it the Department's duty to administer and enforce the provisions of this Subchapter pertaining to the conservation of marine and estuarine resources, replacing it with GS 113-181.1, which expands upon that duty to also include the management of those resources and the development and implementation of Fishery Management Plans and Amendments and Coastal Habitat Protection Plans.
Amends GS 113-215 to include within the definition of marine aquaculture the propagation and rearing of non-native species.
Amends GS 113-228 to provide that to the extent the Department is granted authority over subject matter as to which there is concurrent federal or interstate jurisdiction, the Commission may by reference in its rules adopt relevant provisions of federal or interstate laws, regulations, and management measures as State rules.
Includes a severability clause.
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