Marine Fisheries Commission to consider ban on repacking foreign crab meat in N.C.

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The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will meet by web conference Nov. 19 and 20, beginning at 9 a.m. each day, and among the agenda items is a possible ban on N.C. seafood companies repacking foreign crab meat.

A Tyrrell County seafood processor, was prosecuted and sentenced to federal prison after selling millions of dollars in foreign crab meat that was labeled as local blue crab to major retailers.

An information paper prepared by N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries staff detailed “the negative publicity regarding fraudulent representation of foreign crab meat as ‘Product of the USA’, and the potential economic impact to N.C. crab processors that currently participate in the repacking of foreign crab meat if the practice was prohibited,” according to a NCDMF memo.

The proposal would still allow foreign crab meat that has been repacked in other states and labeled as such to continue to be marketed in North Carolina retail and grocery outlets.

The commission is also expected to take action/address:

  • Small mesh gill net rules
  • Gear restrictions as a management tool for artificial reefs in state ocean waters
  • Discussion of the commercial and recreational sector harvest allocations for southern flounder in draft Amendment 3 of the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan.
  • Presentations on recently completed striped bass assessment reports and a resulting Revision to Amendment 1 to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan to implement adaptive management contained in the current management plan reducing fishing mortality in the Albemarle Sound/Roanoke River Management Area that will be effective Jan. 1, 2021.
  • Votes on a slate of nominees for at-large seats on the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
  • Final approval of readoption of Marine Fisheries Commission rules 15A NCAC 18A .3401- .3407 pertaining to Coastal Recreational Waters Monitoring, Evaluation, and Notification.
  • A presentation on the 2019 commercial and recreational landings.
  • An update on the development of the 2021 Coastal Habitat Protection Plan.

The public may listen to the meeting by phone or listen and view presentations in real-time online.

A 30-minute public comment period is scheduled near the beginning of the meeting on Nov. 19. Those who wish to speak during the comment period are required to preregister by 5 p.m. Nov. 17. To accommodate as many speakers as possible, the chairman may limit the time each speaker may comment.

For links to join the meeting and to register to speak, go to the Marine Fisheries Commission November 2020 Meeting webpage. Following the meeting, an audio recording will be posted online.

Members of the public may also submit written comments to the commission in two ways:

  1. Online Comments – Public comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. Nov. 17 through an online form available here.
  2. Mailed Comments – Written comments may be mailed to Attn. MFC Office, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Comments must be received by the division by 5 p.m. Nov. 17.

Go to the Marine Fisheries Commission November 2020 Meeting webpage for the meeting agenda and briefing book.

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Sam Walker was news director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, Big 94.5 WCMS and Z 92.3 from August 2011 to March 2022.