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Marine Fisheries Rule Changes Now in Effect

Changes to marine fisheries rules pertaining to tarpon and when transfers of commercial fishing licenses are allowed are in effect, the state Division of Marine Fisheries announced Tuesday.

Marine Fisheries Commission rule 15A NCAC 03M .0509, as now amended, prohibits the possession of tarpon and makes it illegal to gaff, spear or puncture tarpon by any method other than hook and line.

Rule 15A NCAC 03O .0108, as now amended, clarifies the circumstances that standard and retired standard commercial fishing licenses transfers are allowed, including the following changes:

  1. Adds grandparents, grandchildren and legal guardians to the list of immediate family members eligible to receive a transferred license.
  2. Codifies the existing requirement of a certification statement from the transferee that affirms the information provided to the division is true and accurate.
  3. Allows an individual license holder to transfer the license to a business in which the license holder is also an owner.
  4. Allows a business that is dissolved to transfer a license to an individual owner of the business.
  5. Allows a business that is sold to transfer a license to the successor business at the time of sale.
  6. Allows a business to transfer a license back to an owner who is leaving the business if the owner originally held the license as an individual.
  7. Restricts business transfers to corporations and limited liability companies.
  8. Defines “owner” to include shareholder of a corporation and member of a limited liability company.

Specific wording of the amended rules in their entirety can be found in the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission Rules April 1, 2020 – Supplement – March 17 on the Division of Marine Fisheries Rules and Regulations webpage. The Division of Marine Fisheries received official notification on March 22 that the rules became effective on March 17.

The Marine Fisheries Commission approved the rules in February 2020 after a public comment period in the fall of 2019; however, both rules were subject to legislative review under various statutes, which delayed the effective date.

For more information, contact Catherine Blum,, rules coordinator for the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, at 252-808-8014.

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.