NCMFC will vote on N.C. flounder closure Aug. 23

Meeting will be open to public comments

The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission is meeting Aug. 21 – 23 to discuss the possible flounder closure. The meeting is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. on Aug. 21 at the Doubletree by Hilton University Brownstone in Raleigh, N.C.

The Commission will open the meeting for public comments again on Aug. 22 at 9:30 a.m. After a lunch break around 12:15, the meeting will continue. The Commission will discuss a number of management plans for numerous species of saltwater fish, as well as other issues.

On Aug. 23, the meeting will continue, and at 10 a.m., the Commission will vote on final approval of Amendment 2. This amendment concerns closing the flounder fishery to recreational and commercial flounder fishing in North Carolina waters.

So what is Amendment 2?

Amendment 2 calls for closing the flounder fishery, which the MFC deems critical to successfully rebuilding the southern flounder stock. The amendment states that from North Carolina to the east coast of Florida, the southern flounder population is overfished (stock size is too small). It also states that overfishing (excessive fishing mortality) is occurring. And it calls for a reduction in total removals of  southern flounder in order to achieve a sustainable harvest. It also hopes to end overfishing within two years, and recover the stock from an overfished condition within 10 years.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the MFC will vote on whether to close the flounder fishery. If the vote passes, the closure will begin immediately.

Upon closure, the harvest season for flounder will reopen according to this schedule:

Commercial
 Northern – Sept. 15 through Oct. 13;
 Central – Sept. 15 through Oct. 17; and
 Southern – Sept. 15 through Nov. 2.
 Recreational Hook and Line and Gig Fishery
 Will not reopen in 2019
 Recreational Commercial Gear License Gill Net Fishery
 Will not reopen in 2019

– 2020 (72% reduction):
 Commercial
 Northern – Sept. 15 through Oct. 6;
 Central – Sept 15 through Oct. 11; and
 Southern – Sept 15 through Oct. 20.
 Recreational hook and line and gig fishery
 Aug. 16 through Sept. 30
 Recreational Commercial Gear License Gill Net Fishery
 Sept. 15 through Sept. 30 (the recreational and commercial seasons must both be open to allow this gear)

If you plan to attend the meeting and would like to make comments to the Commission, please note the MFC’s public comment guidelines:

Opportunities to address the commission are typically scheduled the evening before a business meeting, the morning of the first day of a business meeting, public hearings, and advisory committee meetings.

Things to remember when giving public comment:

The chair controls the meeting.

The chair has the right to set time limits for comment and to take the floor from speakers who are dominating the body’s time.

Only one person at a time may speak.

Speakers should address all comments to the body, never to the audience.

Typically, public comment is limited to 3-5 minutes per person.

Tips for giving public comment:

Decide what issues you most want to address before the meeting. Write down your main speaking points to refer to as you speak. This will ensure you don’t ramble, repeat yourself, waste your speaking time, or run out of time before making all of your points.

If you will be attending in a group, you may want to assign each person one issue or point of an issue to address. This saves time, eliminates repetition in public comment, and makes it easier for each speaker to effectively address the body.

Once the meeting begins you can click here to listen live.

Click here to read the latest flounder fishing report from around the Carolinas.