WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH —— North Carolina's Marine Fisheries Commission will host its first meeting of 2016 in Wrightsville Beach this week.
The commission, responsible for overseeing fisheries management issues throughout the state, will meet for three days at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. Here are a few of the topics commissioners will tackle between Wednesday and Friday:
1. Flounder pound nets: The most contentious issue is expected to be proposed changes to the number of flounder that fishermen can catch with pound nets. At a heated November meeting, the commission voted on changes to the state's flounder management plan, including reducing pound-net catches by 38 percent. Division of Marine Fisheries Director Louis Daniel will share the division's reduction recommendations at the meeting. Commissioners could also vote on a rule change for pound net escape panels.
2. Coastal protection: Commissioners will vote on the 2015 update to the state's Coastal Habitat Protection Plan, designed to protect marine habitats and enhance water quality. The plan is updated every five years; 2015's update includes proposals to increase oyster restoration in the state and promote living shorelines, a natural alternative to bulkheads that prevent erosion and filter stormwater runoff.
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