(a)  All shellfish bottom leases, franchises, and water column leases shall be marked as follows:

(1)           Shellfish bottom leases and franchises shall be marked by:

(A)          Stakes of wood or plastic material at least three inches in diameter at the water level and extending at least four feet above the high water mark.  The stakes shall be firmly jetted or driven into the bottom at each corner.

(B)          Signs displaying the number of the lease or franchise and the name of the owner printed in letters at least three inches high must be firmly attached to each corner stake.

(C)          Supplementary stakes of wood or plastic material, not farther apart than 50 yards or closer together than 50 feet and extending at least four feet above the high water mark, must be placed along each boundary, except when such would interfere with the use of traditional navigation channels.

(2)           Water column leases shall be marked by anchoring two yellow buoys, meeting the material and minimum size requirements specified in 15A NCAC 3J .0103(b) at each corner of the area or by larger buoys, posts and signs as identified and approved by the Secretary in the Management Plan.

(b)  Stakes marking areas of management within shellfish bottom leases or franchises, as approved in the management plan, must conform to Subparagraph (a)(1)(C) of this Rule and may not exceed one for each 1,200 square feet.  Marking at concentrations of stakes greater than one for each 1,200 square feet constitutes use of the water column and a water column lease is required in accordance with G.S. 113‑202.1 or G.S. 113‑202.2.

(c)  All areas claimed in filings made pursuant to G.S. 113‑205 as deeded bottoms through oyster grants issued by the county clerk of court or as private bottoms through perpetual franchises issued by the Shellfish Commission shall be marked in accordance with Paragraph (a) of this Rule, except the sign shall include the number of the franchise rather than the number of the lease.  However, claimed areas not being managed and cultivated shall not be marked.

(d)  It is unlawful to fail to remove all stakes, signs, and markers within 30 days of receipt of notice from the Secretary pursuant to Departmental Rule 15A NCAC 1G .0207 that a G.S. 113‑205 claim to a marked area has been denied.

(e)  It is unlawful to exclude or attempt to exclude the public from allowable public trust use of navigable waters on shellfish leases and franchises including, but not limited to, fishing, hunting, swimming, wading and navigation.

(f)  The Division has no duty to protect any shellfish bottom lease, franchise, or water column lease not marked in accordance with Paragraph (a) of this Rule.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 76‑40; 113‑134; 113‑182; 113‑201; 113‑202; 113‑202.1; 113‑202.2; 113‑205;


Eff. January 1, 1991;

Amended Eff. September 1, 1997; March 1, 1994; October 1, 1992; September 1, 1991.