on Jul 12, 2013 03:57 PM • Views 3938
Media Contact: Kate Pipkin

RALEIGH, N.C. (July 12, 2013) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will hold a public  hearing to take comments on proposed changes to game fish rules and a boating safety  rule at 10 a.m. on July 17 at its headquarters in Raleigh. The meeting will be held in the auditorium on the first floor.

The Commission proposes to amend the rule containing game fish creel and size limits and seasons, which currently includes all game fish species, so that it applies only to black bass. Amending the rule so it applies only to black bass gives the Commission an opportunity to pull existing information out of the complicated, multi-fish rule and create 15 new and simple fish rules — one for each species of game fish — except flounder, sea trout and red drum. These three species will be contained in one rule. The proposed changes, which are administrative only, would have no effect on existing creel and size limits and seasons.

“From a technical sense, these are new rules, but from an angler’s perspective, we will be making the rules easier to understand by merely reformatting the text with no on-the-ground changes,”said Christian Waters, who is a fisheries program manager with the Wildlife Commission. “Instead of one large rule covering all game fish species, the regulations will have a more concise rule for each of these species.”

Currently, the seasons, creel and size limits for all gamefish are written into one rule, 15A NCAC 10C .0305, using a table format with more than 20 individual exceptions, which can be confusing to the public. The Commission proposed these changes to create rules that are simpler, more understandable, and easier to manage administratively by Commission staff.

Two proposed changes to the boating safety rule clarify personal floatation devices (PFD) requirements when operating manual watercraft. The first change adds a definition of racing shells, rowing skulls, racing canoes and racing kayaks,which do not require a user to wear a PFD when operating one of these watercrafts.  

The second proposed change exempts surfboards, paddle boards, tubes, swimming rafts, inflatable toys and similar devices from the requirement to carry PFDs. Under the current rule, riders need to carry a PFD, but requiring PFDs for these types of watercraft does not enhance safety significantly.

The public also can submit comments at regulations@ncwildlife.org, or N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Mail Service Center 1722, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1722, through Aug. 16.

After collecting and considering all public comments, the Commission will vote on the proposals at its August meeting.

The Commission’s headquarters is located on N.C.State’s Centennial Campus, at 1751 Varsity Drive, in Raleigh.