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bernieNC

Big week in Wilmington. Big "win" for recreational anglers!

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NC Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting Recap

Following a presentation Thursday morning by Derb Carter from the Southern Environmental Law Center, and Louis Daniel and David Knight with the NC Wildlife Federation, the Commission voted 5-3 with one abstention to grant the NCWF Petition for Rulemaking to designate all coastal fishing waters not already classified as nursery areas as special secondary nursery areas; establish clear criteria for the opening of shrimp season; and define the type of gear and how and when gear may be used in the special secondary nursery areas during shrimp season.

The Motion to accept the Petition in its entirety was presented by Commissioner Mike Wicker and Seconded by Commissioner Chuck Laughridge. Commissioner Alison Willis requested the Chairman to call for a Roll Call vote. Commissioners Mark Gorges, Brad Koury, Chuck Laughridge, Rick Smith, and Mike Wicker all voted in favor of moving the Petition forward for Rulemaking. Commissioners Janet Rose, Alison Willis, and Sammy Corbett all voted to Deny the Petition. Commissioner Joe Shute abstained.

This is just the first step in a long Rulemaking process. The MFC attorney predicted it could be May 2018 before any new rules are implemented. We still expect many hurdles will have to be overcome along the process to reach the final goal of the Petition to reduce bycatch in the shrimp trawl industry and provide additional habitat protection in our estuarine waters. Even with the long journey still ahead, this is a big win for our coastal resources. CCA NC thanks the NC Wildlife Federation for all of their hard work on the Petition that moves these important efforts forward to begin rebuilding and growing our declining fish stocks. A lot of dedicated people have been working on this issue for many years, including some who are no longer with us. They should all share in the celebration of this victory for our coastal marine resources. Thank you to all of our CCA NC members and supporters who wrote and called their Commissioners in support of the Petition, and a special thanks to those that showed up at the public meetings in New Bern and Wilmington.

The opposition to the Petition during the MFC meeting in Wilmington focused almost entirely on falsely alarming the public that these proposed regulations would mean consumers will no longer be able to buy NC caught shrimp, and p
romoting the corporate profits of the shrimp industry over the value of our coastal public trust resources. Telling the public that this Petition will make it impossible for them to purchase NC wild-caught shrimp was a complete lie and the Commission is to be congratulated for seeing through the smoke screen. In fact, every other state on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts that prohibits shrimp harvest in their inshore waters still maintains a healthy shrimp industry where consumers can still buy local shrimp. North Carolina consumers are not in danger of losing access to local shrimp, and in fact can expect a healthier seafood market when these new rules are finally implemented.


In other business, a Motion was made by Joe Shute and seconded by Chuck Laughridge to open the Cobia Season in North Carolina waters on May 1st through August 31st with a one fish per person, per day limit; four fish per vessel limit; and a 36" FL size limit. In addition, Commissioner Shute included a provision to have all harvested fish weighed and recorded at a NC Citation Station in an effort to promote better data collection on the actual harvest numbers. The motion passed.

Commissioners Laughridge and Smith once again tried to press the Director to take action on the declining native striped bass stocks in the Central Southern Management Area (CSMA = Tar/Pamlico and Neuse River systems). The US Fish & Wildlife Service spends in the neighborhood of $750,000 each year to stock striped bass in the CSMA. A commercial harvest valued at around $60,000 annually continues despite scientific data that indicates the striped bass stock is now in excess of 80% stocked fish. Scientific data indicates we are in danger of losing native striped bass on these two river systems. Laughridge motioned with a second from Smith to ask the Director to use his Proclamation authority to reduce the commercial Total Allowable Catch from 25,000 lbs. to 5,000 lbs., and to adopt the same recreational catch limits recently adopted by the Wildlife Resources Commission of two fish per person/per day with a 26" TL size limit. The Director indicated his research and staff advice did not warrant any action was needed at this time. With the Director's indication that he would refuse the request to use his Proclamation authority, the motion was withdrawn.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, ncdrew said:

And then payback...  Rec limit for flounder dropping to 4.  No cut for commercial side!!!

FYI   The "commercial side" flounder quota was reduced by 30% for 2017.

It's all about everyone needing to better protect the resources. I think NC might finally start seeing some progress and it could get interesting in the very near future!

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19 hours ago, bernieNC said:

FYI   The "commercial side" flounder quota was reduced by 30% for 2017.

It's all about everyone needing to better protect the resources. I think NC might finally start seeing some progress and it could get interesting in the very near future!

I'm all for protecting our resources.  Cutting us from 6 to 4 will make very little impact.  Most recs can't catch 4 legal ones anyway its gotten so bad.  

That cut in quota was for summer flounder so for trawlers offshore.  Does nothing to limit the netters inshore.  So if they caught 92% of our southern flounder in 2014 and we've been cut again how high does it go?  Left with crumbs.

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5 hours ago, ncdrew said:

I'm all for protecting our resources.  Cutting us from 6 to 4 will make very little impact.  Most recs can't catch 4 legal ones anyway its gotten so bad.  

That cut in quota was for summer flounder so for trawlers offshore.  Does nothing to limit the netters inshore.  So if they caught 92% of our southern flounder in 2014 and we've been cut again how high does it go?  Left with crumbs.

It's better than this: "Failure to implement the reduced bag limit would result in default management measures of a 20-inch size limit, a two-fish bag limit, and a fishing season from July 1 through Aug. 31."

https://portcitydaily.com/2017/02/24/going-fishing-flounder-recreational-fishing-limits-are-about-to-change-for-north-Carolina/

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