113-182.1. Fishery Management Plans.

(a) The Department shall prepare proposed Fishery Management Plans for adoption by the Marine Fisheries Commission for all commercially or recreationally significant species or fisheries that comprise State marine or estuarine resources. Proposed Fishery Management Plans shall be developed in accordance with the Priority List, Schedule, and guidance criteria established by the Marine Fisheries Commission under G.S. 143B-289.52.

(b) The goal of the plans shall be to ensure the long-term viability of the State's commercially and recreationally significant species or fisheries. Each plan shall be designed to reflect fishing practices so that one plan may apply to a specific fishery, while other plans may be based on gear or geographic areas. Each plan shall:

(1) Contain necessary information pertaining to the fishery or fisheries, including management goals and objectives, status of relevant fish stocks, stock assessments for multiyear species, fishery habitat and water quality considerations consistent with Coastal Habitat Protection Plans adopted pursuant to G.S. 143B-279.8, social and economic impact of the fishery to the State, and user conflicts.

(2) Recommend management actions pertaining to the fishery or fisheries.

(3) Include conservation and management measures that will provide the greatest overall benefit to the State, particularly with respect to food production, recreational opportunities, and the protection of marine ecosystems, and that will produce a sustainable harvest.

(4) Repealed by Session Laws 2010-13, s. 1, effective June 23, 2010.

(5) Specify a time period, not to exceed two years from the date of the adoption of the plan, to end overfishing. This subdivision shall not apply if the Fisheries Director determines that the biology of the fish, environmental conditions, or lack of sufficient data make implementing the requirements of this subdivision incompatible with professional standards for fisheries management.

(6) Specify a time period, not to exceed 10 years from the date of the adoption of the plan, for achieving a sustainable harvest. This subdivision shall not apply if the Fisheries Director determines that the biology of the fish, environmental conditions, or lack of sufficient data make implementing the requirements of this subdivision incompatible with professional standards for fisheries management.

(7) Include a standard of at least fifty percent (50%) probability of achieving sustainable harvest for the fishery or fisheries. This subdivision shall not apply if the Fisheries Director determines that the biology of the fish, environmental conditions, or lack of sufficient data make implementing the requirements of this subdivision incompatible with professional standards for fisheries management.

(c) To assist in the development of each Fishery Management Plan, the Chair of the Marine Fisheries Commission shall appoint a fishery management plan advisory committee. Each fishery management plan advisory committee shall be composed of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, and scientists, all with expertise in the fishery for which the Fishery Management Plan is being developed.

(c1) The Department shall consult with the regional advisory committees established pursuant to G.S. 143B-289.57(e) regarding the preparation of each Fishery Management Plan. Before submission of a plan for review by the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, the Department shall review any comment or recommendation regarding the plan that a regional advisory committee submits to the Department within the time limits established in the Schedule for the development and adoption of Fishery Management Plans established by G.S. 143B-289.52. Before the Commission adopts a management measure to implement a plan, the Commission shall review any comment or recommendation regarding the management measure that a regional advisory committee submits to the Commission.

(d) Each Fishery Management Plan shall be reviewed at least once every five years. The Marine Fisheries Commission may revise the Priority List and guidance criteria whenever it determines that a revision of the Priority List or guidance criteria will facilitate or improve the development of Fishery Management Plans or is necessary to restore, conserve, or protect the marine and estuarine resources of the State. The Marine Fisheries Commission may not revise the Schedule for the development of a Fishery Management Plan, once adopted, without the approval of the Secretary of Environmental Quality.

(e) The Secretary of Environmental Quality shall monitor progress in the development and adoption of Fishery Management Plans in relation to the Schedule for development and adoption of the plans established by the Marine Fisheries Commission. The Secretary of Environmental Quality shall report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources and the Fiscal Research Division within 30 days of the completion or substantial revision of each proposed Fishery Management Plan. The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources shall review each proposed Fishery Management Plan within 30 days of the date the proposed Plan is submitted by the Secretary. The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources may submit comments and recommendations on the proposed Plan to the Secretary within 30 days of the date the proposed Plan is submitted by the Secretary.

(e1) If the Secretary determines that it is in the interest of the long-term viability of a fishery, the Secretary may authorize the Commission to develop temporary management measures to supplement an existing Fishery Management Plan pursuant to this subsection. Development of temporary management measures pursuant to this subsection is exempt from subsections (c), (c1), and (e) of this section and the Priority List, Schedule, and guidance criteria established by the Marine Fisheries Commission under G.S. 143B-289.52. During the next review period for a Fishery Management Plan supplemented pursuant to this subsection, the Commission shall either incorporate the temporary management measures into the revised Fishery Management Plan or the temporary management measures shall expire on the date the revised Fishery Management Plan is adopted.

(f) The Marine Fisheries Commission shall adopt rules to implement Fishery Management Plans in accordance with Chapter 150B of the General Statutes.

(g) To achieve sustainable harvest under a Fishery Management Plan, the Marine Fisheries Commission may include in the Plan a recommendation that the General Assembly limit the number of fishermen authorized to participate in the fishery. The Commission may recommend that the General Assembly limit participation in a fishery only if the Commission determines that sustainable harvest cannot otherwise be achieved. In determining whether to recommend that the General Assembly limit participation in a fishery, the Commission shall consider all of the following factors:

(1) Current participation in and dependence on the fishery.

(2) Past fishing practices in the fishery.

(3) Economics of the fishery.

(4) Capability of fishing vessels used in the fishery to engage in other fisheries.

(5) Cultural and social factors relevant to the fishery and any affected fishing communities.

(6) Capacity of the fishery to support biological parameters.

(7) Equitable resolution of competing social and economic interests.

(8) Any other relevant considerations. (1997-400, s. 3.4; 1997-443, s. 11A.119(b); 1998-212, s. 14.3; 1998-225, s. 2.1; 2001-213, s. 1; 2001-452, s. 2.1; 2004-160, ss. 3, 4; 2007-495, ss. 6, 7; 2010-13, s. 1; 2010-15, s. 1; 2011-291, ss. 2.27, 2.28; 2012-201, s. 1; 2013-360, s. 14.8(r); 2015-241, s. 14.30(v); 2015-286, s. 4.12(b); 2017-57, s. 14.1(d).)