MFC Meeting Recap


The NC Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) met in New Bern last week February 21-22. All MFC meetings are recorded live on YouTube and can viewed online afterwards. You can also click under the title of the video on “more….” and it allows you to click and go to specific sections of the meeting. Day one is the first evening of public comment and day two is more public comment followed by the actual meeting.


MFC meeting day one link:


MFC meeting day two link:



Important Takeaways From The Meeting


Mullet Vote


The MFC voted to approve the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) recommendation for a 34.9% harvest reduction with:


Saturday-Sunday closure from Jan. 1-Sept. 30

Saturday-Monday closure from Oct. 1-Dec. 31


At the meeting, the MFC lawyer stated that a supermajority vote would be required to overturn the DMF recommendation. This forced the hands of the commissioners to vote for the recommendation. Anyone who follows these meetings knows a supermajority vote on most issues will likely fail. If commissioners had pushed for a lesser reduction this would have resulted in a failed vote and we would be forced to live through another Supplemental mullet closure. No one wants a repeat of last years mullet mess!


The next step on mullet is DEQ Secretary and legislative review for approval and then a vote for final MFC approval in May 2024.


SAV Shrimp Trawl Area Closures 


This issue was thoroughly discussed and there were quite a few questions about how much SAV protection, if any, is actually going to be achieved through these closures. The MFC voted to send this issue paper to all the standing advisory committees for stakeholder comment. These meeting will be in April and NCFA will be sure to remind everyone as the dates approach. Your input and early involvement on this issue is important.


Albacore Rule Vote


The proposed rule to begin managing harvest of false albacore was passed with a 5-4 vote. This discussion was quite contentious as you can tell from the slim majority who passed it. The next step is to go through the rules review process and if approved, will be brought back once again to the MFC for a final vote at a later date.


Directors Report


During the Directors report it was discussed how the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (SAFMC) was out of compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) concerning red snapper Amendment 35. 


The MSA is the law which not only established the SAFMC, but it is also the primary law governing our federal fisheries. All members of the SAFMC council took an oath to uphold the MSA, yet during their December meeting, all members except one voted for noncompliance. Many of our fisheries management council members operate in grey areas concerning federal and state laws intended to fairly manage our fisheries for all user groups and this blatant disregard for the MSA is just the latest and most obvious example. It has not gone unnoticed.


Thomas Newman 

Fisheries Liaison