MOORESVILLE â€” The Lake Norman Marine Commission passed an ordinance Monday night making it illegal to catch or possess sterile grass carp.
The carp, minnows from Eastern Asia, have been put in Lake Norman to eat up the fast-growing weed called hydrilla.
A violation of this regulation will result in a maximum fine of $500. The regulation will go into effect on Oct. 1.
Starting July 1, 2005 Lake Norman will be included in the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission law, which will prohibit possession of the carp. The ordinance passed Monday night was an interim step performed while the commission waited for the law to come into effect.
Bob Elliott, chairman of the commissionâ€™s hydrilla committee, said that by next April or May he expects another set of carp will be added to the lake. Currently the lake has 600 carp.
A public hearing was held on the proposed ordinance, with no responses from the public.
â€œThe grass carp are safe,â€ said Randy Reece, chairman of the commission. â€œIt is a great day for the carp.â€
A proposal was also presented by Matt Myers, who is heading up the Adopt-A-Carp program, designed to educate and allow students to raise money to help fund the fish.
For every $10 raised, children in schools can adopt a carp and name it.
â€œThe hydrilla is not going to go away,â€ Myers said. â€œWe need to know about it and the best way is to educate.â€
For more information on the program go to www.adoptacarp.com.
In other commission business, Reece received a plaque honoring the five years that he has served on the board. Rob Digh will now serve as chairman, and the vice-chairman and secretary will be Terry Davis.
The board will also establish an advisory board for the marine commission, which will work with counties surrounding the lake.
The group will meet three to four times a year, with one representative from each county.
â€œThe goal is to meet and be proactive with strategic planning,â€ Reece said. â€œThis is a way to keep the counties involved so when we need help for the budget for funding they feel like they are in the loop.â€
A procedure manual guidebook will also be created and provided for all new marine commission members.
â€œIt will go over the basics such as how to run a meeting, the bylaws and legislation,â€ Reece said.
On a side note, the next Lake Norman Marine Commission meeting in October will not be held at the Mooresville Municipal Building. The new location has not been decided and will be announced as soon as possible. by Amy Wadsworth