MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will hold two public hearings next week on proposed rules that will affect striped bass fishing and criteria for obtaining certain fishing licenses.

The hearings will be held at 7 p.m.:

* Tuesday, Feb. 19; N.C. DENR Regional Office, 942 Washington Square Mall, Washington.                               

* Thursday, Feb. 21; UNC-Wilmington Center for Marine Sciences, 5600 Marvin K. Moss Lane, Wilmington.

Many of the proposed rules implement amendments to the state's Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan. If adopted, they will:

* Authorize the director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries to implement a May 1- Sept. 30 striped bass season closure each year in all inshore coastal waters statewide. 
* Close the Cape Fear River to commercial and recreational striped bass fishing.
* Lower the recreational striped bass creel limit from 3 fish to 2 fish in inshore waters of the Central/Southern Management Area (south of a line running from Eagles Nest Bay to Roanoke Marshes Point, in the area of Oregon Inlet).
* Establish a slot limit on striped bass caught in waters of the Central/Southern Management Area that are jointly managed with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The slot limit prohibits possession of fish between 22 inches and 27 inches long.
* Clarify that enforcement of daily size and creel limits for striped bass will be based on the waters in which individuals are found fishing, regardless of whether that person has fished in other waters that day.

Other proposed rules, if adopted, will:

* Create a season for the use of electrical fishing devices in waters of the Cape Fear River jointly managed with the Wildlife Resources Commission.
* Clarify what U.S. Coast Guard certifications and other documentation is needed to apply for a For Hire Blanket Coastal Recreational Fishing License or a For Hire Fishing Permit.
* Prohibits the Standard Commercial Fishing License Eligibility Board from granting a license to someone who has previously transferred a license granted by the board.

Written comments will be accepted until April 1 and may be sent to Catherine Blum, Division of Marine Fisheries Rulemaking Coordinator, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. A copy of the proposed rules may be found on pages 1395 through 1406 of the N.C. Register, published Feb. 1. For more information, call Catherine Blum at (252) 808-8013.