Marine Fisheries Commission voting on new southern flounder regulations Thursday

Marine Fisheries Commission voting on new southern flounder regulations Thursday

Many coastal residents enjoy catching and eating fresh Southern flounder, but soon they might be harder to get.

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries has been talking about changing the regulations on Southern flounder for nearly a year.

Commission members were planning to vote in August on the new changes, but put their vote on hold when they received a letter from Donald Van Der Vaart, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ).

In the letter, Van Der Vaart expressed his concern, and those raised by more than a dozen members of the General Assembly, about potential options under consideration to supplement the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan.

Sammy Cobertt, chairman of the Marine Fisheries commission, said the letter from the NCDEQ wasn't questioning their plans, but asking to give the three new commissioners more time to review the data. He said at the time they only a day to review it.

Months later, the commissions have decided to vote on the new rules and regulations for the popular flat fish on November 19.

Some of the restrictions the six different proposals are suggesting are limiting the size and catch of the flounder, gear modifications, and even possibly seasonal closures.

The six proposals can be found online here under "Hot Topics."

Even though the commission is scheduled to vote Thursday morning, Cobertt said there are two more public comment sessions.

One is taking place Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at Jennette's Pier in Nag's Head. The second one will take place at the same location, Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

The commission is planning to vote after the second public comment session is complete.

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