Days after the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission approved banning gill nets from parts of the Pamlico and Neuse rivers on a split vote, the head of the state’s environmental quality division called out the panel for declaring an “emergency”.
“I am disappointed by the Marine Fisheries Commission calling an emergency meeting with only 48 hours notice for a non-emergency,” N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael S. Regan said Friday in a written statement.
Both Regan, who oversees the department that includes the Division of Marine Fisheries, and the nine-member Marine Fisheris Commission are appointed by the governor.
The Marine Fisheries Commission issues mandates to the Division on management of species in North Carolina’s coastal waterways.
“The commission used bad judgment in directing the Division of Marine Fisheries Director to take actions that contradict science and the recommendations of the division’s scientists,” Regan said. “I certainly hope this is not a precedent we will see again from this commission.”
“The statute empowering the Marine Fisheries Commission to direct issuance of gill net bans in certain areas does not authorize the Secretary or the Department discretion to overturn such a directive,” Regan said.