By Sandy Semans Ross | Outer Banks Voice on November 12, 2018
Governor Roy Cooper has appointed fish dealer/processor and owner of Pamlico Packing Doug Cross of Pamlico County and commercial fisherman and co-owner of Seaview Crab Company, Sam Romano of Wilmington to the Marine Fisheries Commission.
They will fill the seats left vacant when former MFC Chairman Sammy Corbett, a commercial fishing dealer, and Alison Willis, wife of a commercial fisherman, resigned from the board just days before the last meeting thus leaving just one of the commercial fishing industry’s three obligatory seats filled.
That seat was filled with commercial fisherman Mike Blanton who was sworn in at the last meeting held in Raleigh in August.
Also at the August meeting, recreational fisherman Rob Bizzell was sworn in as the new chairman and recreational member Chuck Laughridge was voted vice chair.
Bizzell lost no time in announcing changes he intends to implement including changing the schedules of the meetings so that public comment will now be taken beginning at 6 p.m. on the first day of what will now be a three-day meeting.
The change will be implemented when the panel convenes on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the Hilton Inn in Kitty Hawk. The business meeting will start at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15 and conclude on Friday, Nov. 16.
Bizzell also announced that he is changing the meeting locations for the 2019 calendar year.
The Fisheries Reform Act mandates that three of the commission’s four annual meetings be held on the coast. Traditionally, to accommodate that directive, the three meetings have been held in Dare County, Morehead City or New Bern, and in Wilmington. The fourth is held in Raleigh.
The new chairman said that in the future, all three coastal meetings will be held in Morehead City or New Bern.
Then-new commissioner Mike Blanton who was the lone commercial fisherman present, objected by noting that it is difficult for fishermen who live in the northern and southern areas of the state to take off time to attend meetings so far away.
He said that the regional meetings are often the only opportunity they have to attend meetings to voice their concerns.
Blanton’s objection was ignored, however.
To review the agenda and meeting packet, go to http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/11-2018-briefing-book