Search Results for: North Carolina Fisheries Association

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for June 6, 2022

The MFC voted on May 26th to continue with the gill net closure in the Neuse and Pamlico rivers and directed DMF to study the impacts of removing the gill nets as their preferred management option. But this time the reason for continuing the gill net closure was different. At the meeting, Commissioner Tom Roller said; “In saying that this is an allocation fight, you are right. So, when NCFA comes here and says there is no scientific evidence for removing gill nets, what they are saying is I want my allocation. Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. So, it’s an allocation by the retention of gill nets. Cause a dead fish is a dead fish, right? A dead fish is a dead fish and you have to ask what is the greater value to the economy? And in most cases, and many cases, not all cases, it’s recreational.” I’m confused. . >click to read<. To read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 16:16

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for May 30, 2022

Finally! An issue both the CCA and NCFA agree on. Do you believe in miracles? If not, you should. On May 25, at the meeting of the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission, David Sneed, Executive Director of the CCA NC, made the following statement during the public comment period. “On Southern Flounder, the recent recreational overages were the result of derby fishing brought about by insufficient management action from Amendment 2. Harvest and overage estimates that are provided by MRIP were never intended to be used to manage a fishery through a quota,,, Sound familiar? If you’re one of our regular readers it should. . >click to read<. To read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 11:51

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for May 23, 2022

The NCFA urges everyone to offer comments on draft Amendment 2 to the Striped Bass FMP, to the NC Marine Fisheries Commission at their May 25-26 meeting, supporting lifting the prohibition on the use of gill nets in the upper Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. In 2019 the MFC, through an “emergency meeting” with no public comment allowed, voted to force former DMF Director Steve Murphey to issue a proclamation prohibiting the use of all gill nets above the Ferry lines in the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. Prior to this emergency meeting the MFC had asked Director Murphey to issue the gill net ban, a request he declined, in the letter below, as it was not supported by science. . >click to read<. To read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<  17:28

Fisheries commission meeting set for Thursday, Friday in Beaufort>click to read<

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for May 23, 2022 – 1

The NCFA urges everyone to offer comments on draft Amendment 2 to the Striped Bass FMP, to the NC Marine Fisheries Commission at their May 25-26 meeting, supporting lifting the prohibition on the use of gill nets in the upper Neuse and Pamlico Rivers.
In 2019 the MFC, through an “emergency meeting” with no public comment allowed, voted to force former DMF Director Steve Murphey to issue a proclamation prohibiting the use of all gill nets above the Ferry lines in the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. Prior to this emergency meeting the MFC had asked Director Murphey to issue the gill net ban, a request he declined, in the letter below, as it was not supported by science.
In response to the MFC’s actions DEQ Secretary Michael Regan issued the press release below condemning their actions. To our knowledge, this is the only time an acting Secretary has ever issued a press release publicly condemning any act of the Marine Fisheries Commission.
The below press release was issued in 2019
Release: IMMEDIATE
Contact: Megan S. Thorpe
Date: March 14, 2019
Phone: 919-618-0968
Secretary Regan’s Statement on Marine Fisheries
Commission’s Non-Emergency
RALEIGH — N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael S. Regan issued the following statement on the emergency meeting called by the Marine Fisheries Commission this week:
I am disappointed by the Marine Fisheries Commission calling an emergency meeting with only 48 hours notice for a non-emergency. 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. 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.
nr-26-2019
Three years later, the only quantifiable impact of this net ban has been the negative impact to commercial fishermen and consumers. Amendment 2, to the Striped Bass FMP is the only opportunity, outside of a courtroom, to right this intolerable wrong. It is imperative that everyone voices their opposition to the continuation of this unnecessary net ban!
The CCA and likely some of the MFC members who support their agenda wish to see this net ban extended to close the entire Neuse and Pamlico Rivers to the use of all gill nets, with no scientific justification for doing so. If they were to succeed, how long will it be before they attempt to close all inside waters to gillnetting?
We strongly urge everyone to demand that the MFC lift these net bans and return to the gill net regulations which were in place prior to the 2019 prohibition.
For more information you can reach out to NCFA Executive Director, Glenn skinner.
252-646-7742
Glenn Skinner
Executive Director-
North Carolina Fisheries Association, Inc.
101 N. 5th Street
Morehead City NC 28557
252-646-7742
MEDIA ADVISORY: Marine Fisheries Commission to meet May 25-26 in Beaufort
MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will meet in-person May 25-26 at the Beaufort Hotel,
2440 Lennoxville Road, Beaufort. The meeting will also be livestreamed on YouTube.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25 and at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 26.
The commission will hold in-person public comment sessions at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 and near the beginning of the meeting on Thursday, May 26. Public comment will not be taken through web conference.
The following information pertains to in-person public comment:
· Those who wish to speak may sign up at the hotel beginning at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 25.
· To accommodate as many speakers as possible, the chair will limit each speaker to 3 minutes.
· Those making comments will be asked to speak only once, either Wednesday night or Thursday morning, but not during both public comment periods.
· Those who wish to submit handouts to the commission during a public comment period should bring at least 12 copies to the meeting.
The public may also submit written comments via the following methods:
· An online form accessible through the Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting webpage.
· Mail to May 2022 Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557.
· Dropped off at the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Morehead City Headquarters Office at 3441 Arendell St., Morehead City.
Written comments must be received by 4 p.m. Monday, May 23.
The YouTube link will be posted on the Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting webpage. After the meeting, a recording will be posted online.
Agenda items include:
·        Final approval of Amendment 3 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan.
·        Final approval of the N.C. Fishery Management Plan for Interjurisdictional Fisheries Information Update.
·        Selection of preferred management for Amendment 2 to the Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan.
·        Presentation on the 2022 Striped Mullet Stock Assessment Report.
WHO:
N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission
WHAT:
Quarterly Business Meeting
WHEN:
May 25 at 6 p.m.
May 26 at 9 a.m.
WHERE:
The Beaufort Hotel
2440 Lennoxville Road, Beaufort
PARKING:
Click Here for Aerial Photo of Free Event Parking Area
Valet Parking: $15.00
(Tell Valet You Are Attending Marine Fisheries Meeting)
LIVE STREAM:
Click here for links

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for May 16, 2022

NCWF…Sounds a lot like the CCA’s approach to messaging. Doesn’t it? A couple of weeks ago I had a call from a friend who is not a fisherman, recreational or commercial, but has taken an interest in fisheries management. He reached out to ask me about the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF), as he had seen them mentioned in several of our weekly newsletters but was having trouble finding their fisheries positions on the NCWF website. >click to read<. To read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 09:41

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for May 02, 2022

The “Rule of Law” is the political philosophy that all citizens are accountable for the same laws. This philosophy helped fuel the American revolution and was a key principle considered, by our founding fathers, when drafting the U.S Constitution. The Rule of Law ensures, that in a true democracy, the powerful, wealthy, or majority can’t use the law to oppress or control the minority. When it comes to regulating our coastal fisheries both the government and our state seem to struggle with this relatively simple concept. Simply put, it doesn’t matter whether you fish for food, profit, or pleasure, your impacts are similar and therefore you must be treated similarly under the law! Perhaps it’s time for another revolution! >click to read< to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 18:43

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for April 25, 2022

Is North Carolina allowing fishermen to circumvent the Endangered Species Act? On April 6, 2022, the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of North Carolina sent out an email with so much disinformation I can’t even begin to address it all in one article. The email contained many of the same half-truths and outright lies we’ve been exposing over the last few months but one, above all, really rubbed me the wrong way. The CCA claimed that the “use of gill nets continues in North Carolina waters because the state holds two permits on behalf of commercial fishermen that allow them to circumvent the Endangered Species Act protections and kill or harm endangered sea turtles and sturgeon.” Circumvent. Really? >click to read the WeeklyUpdate<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 08:58

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for April 11, 2022

A recent study conducted by researchers at LSU shows that Southern Flounder Stocks have declined throughout their entire range from North Carolina to Texas. The study was triggered by dramatic declines in the number of Southern Flounder in Louisiana waters. In 2017, Louisiana’s recreational Southern Flounder harvest declined to a mere 124,000 pounds, down from a high of 624,000 pounds in 2013. The findings of the LSU study fly directly in the face of claims made by the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of NC and the NC Wildlife Federation (NCWF), who suggests that decline of Southern Flounder is solely a NC issue caused by commercial fishing, specifically gillnetting. >Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for April 04, 2022

Over the last couple of months, many NC anglers have reached out to the NCFA seeking to get a better understanding of what’s really going on in the world of fisheries management here in North Carolina. That said, there have been several anglers who have questioned our assessment of the CCA’s true agenda, which in our opinion is to reduce or even eliminate harvest of wild fish stocks in both the commercial and recreational sectors.  I had an angler from Pamlico County tell me that the CCA had assured him that once the nets were gone recreational bag limits for Red Drum, Southern Flounder, and Speckled Trout would increase and nothing I write could convince him otherwise. This got me thinking that maybe he and other anglers would be more receptive to the truth if someone else wrote it. >click to read the attached article< 16:40

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update, March 28, 2022 – Seafood Consumers Beware

Seafood Consumers Beware The post below was made by the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of North Carolina. After decades of promising NC anglers more fish and then supporting every recreational harvest reduction that’s been proposed, over the last 25 years, it appears the CCA has shifted its focus to North Carolina’s seafood consumers. I guess they’ve taken all they can from the anglers who like to harvest a mess of fish but feel seafood consumers still have more to give. While their message seems innocent enough, expressing a love of seafood and concern for the stock, don’t be fooled! >click to read< 19:50

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 21, 2022

Last week, on March 15,16, and 17th, the Northern Regional, Southern Regional, and Finfish Advisory Committees met to make recommendations, for the Marine Fisheries Commission to consider, on Amendment 2 to the Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan! There was very little public comment, about a half dozen each night, with the NCFA being the only fisheries group offering comments. We focused on a single issue, allowing the use of gillnets above the ferry lines in the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers, which the MFC chose to remove from the draft Amendment before allowing public or AC input. >click to read the update< 13:24

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Newsletter/Update for March14, 2022

In February of 2022, the North Carolina Fisheries Commission (MFC) reviewed draft Amendment 2 to the Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and approved the draft Amendment to be sent out for public comment and review by the standing Advisory Committees. Prior to approving the draft, a majority of the MFC voted to remove any option, that would allow the possibility of allowing the use of gill nets, above the ferry lines in the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse Rivers, from draft Amendment 2. This vote, in my opinion, was nothing more than an effort, by the MFC, to censor the public and Advisory Committees on an issue they do not wish to discuss. Which raises a very important question. Who’s advising who? >click to read the update, meeting dates< 12:09

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Newsletter/Update

In February of 2022, the North Carolina Fisheries Commission (MFC) reviewed draft Amendment 2 to the Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and approved the draft Amendment to be sent out for public comment and review by the standing Advisory Committees. Prior to approving the draft, a majority of the MFC voted to remove any option, that would allow the possibility of allowing the use of gill nets, above the ferry lines in the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse Rivers, from draft Amendment 2. This vote, in my opinion, was nothing more than an effort, by the MFC, to censor the public and Advisory Committees on an issue they do not wish to discuss. Which raises a very important question.
 Who’s advising who?
Both the public and Standing Advisory Committee were meant to play a very important role in our fisheries management process by advising the MFC, prior to their deliberations on management options. The current MFC chose to deliberate whether gill nets should be allowed, prior to the options being reviewed by either the public or AC’s , and through a majority vote decided to advise the public and Advisory Committees, not to even consider allowing the use of gill nets above the ferry lines.
If that’s not a perfect example of the tail wagging the dog, I don’t know what is!
This whole debate over gill nets above the Pamlico and Neuse River ferry lines began in February of 2019 when the MFC passed supplement A to the Striped Bass FMP, which eliminated the harvest of Striped Bass in the Central Management Area. After the approval of Supplement A, several Commissioners requested that the DMF Director at that time, Steve Murphey, issue a proclamation banning the use of gill nets above the ferry lines. Director Murphey, through the attached letter declined their request and provided sound justification for doing so.
In this letter, Director Murphey stated that “after careful consideration I have concluded that such a measure is not supported by the scientific data that support gill nets as the primary or even the most significant source of discard mortality” and provided an in-depth explanation of how he came to this conclusion.
Despite the lack of scientific justification for banning the use of gill nets above the ferry lines, or anywhere else for that matter, the MFC, at an emergency meeting in March of 2019, voted to force Director Murphey to issue the proclamation and banned the use of gill nets above the Neuse and Pamlico River ferries.
Immediately after the March MFC meeting DEQ Secretary Michael Reagan, issued a press release condemning the actions of the MFC. In the press release, Secretary Reagan expressed his concern with the MFC for calling an emergency meeting for a non-emergency and said “the commission used bad judgement in directing the Division of Marine Fisheries Director to take actions that contradict science and the recommendations of the division scientist. I certainly hope this is not a precedent we will see again from this Commission.”
He went on to state that “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” implying that if he had the authority, he would have overturned the net ban.
Unfortunately, “this Commission” has, once again, shown “bad judgement” by attempting to uphold their net ban and censor the input from both the public and their own Advisory Committees. Their actions have shown a total disregard for science and contempt for the management process and the seafood industry. In the absence of a sound scientific argument, many anglers who support the net ban, have found other, more creative, arguments to justify the continuation, or even the expansion, of the Neuse and Pamlico River net bans.
The most popular argument seems to be that the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico Striped Bass Stocks are made up mostly of hatchery reared fish, stocked into these river systems by the WRC. Fish, they claim, were bought and paid for solely by anglers. While its true that millions of stripers have been stocked into these systems by the WRC and that recent data suggests without stocking of hatchery reared fish the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico stocks will likely decline, their claim of sole ownership falls short, in my opinion.
The stocking of “sport fish”, like striped bass, in NC and many other states is primarily funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. These funds are derived from federal excise taxes and import duties collected on various items such as, fishing tackle, electronics, (fish finders, trolling motors) pleasure boats and yachts, and a portion of the federal gas taxes attributed to motorboat fuel and small outdoor engines (lawnmowers, snowblowers, chainsaws etc.).
While I’m still not certain how the government determines what percentage of the gas sold in the US goes into motorboats and small outdoor engines. I am sure that this portion of the Federal gas tax represents the majority of the revenue generated for the sport fishing Restoration and Boating Trust Fund annually.
In recent years the portion of the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax all Americans pay, that is attributed to motorboat and small engine use, has accounted for approximately 70% of these funds averaging $600,000,000 to $700,000,000 per year.
This said, it’s safe to assume that a significant portion of the funds distributed, to NC and other states, for fish stocking programs is generated by non-anglers such as commercial fishermen and seafood consumers.
Afterall it’s hard to imagine a scenario where lawn mowers or snowblowers would be necessary while hook and line fishing for Striped Bass. It’s also absurd to assume that all gas used in a “motorboat” would be for the sole purpose of recreational fishing. What about, pleasure boating, water skiing, tubing, diving, sunbathing, marine construction, or even gill netting?
The fact is, many projects such as fish stocking, that benefit recreational fishermen are funded by anglers and non-anglers alike.
In my mind this raises a couple of very important questions.
Should a state agency, or anyone else, be allowed to restrict commercial, consumer, or recreational access to a resource we as taxpayers bought and paid for?
Or
Should they be allowed to choke out commercial and consumer access to other fisheries, through a gill net ban, while trying to establish sole ownership of a resource we all contributed to?
The answer to both is NO!
In the Striped Bass FMP decision document, the Division states that “sustainability of Tar-Pamlico and Neuse River stocks is unlikely at any level of fishing mortality”, this includes release mortality from the recreational hook and line fishery. The truth is, without addressing the issues like water flow, pollution and man-made structures preventing access to critical spawning grounds, the Striped Bass stocks in these areas cannot maintain or increase abundance without stocking of hatchery reared fish, with or without a gillnet fishery!
This is true in many fisheries across NC and the rest of the Country.
                                                     Think about it.
Why does NC and other states stock trout or other species into mountain streams and lakes across the country where gill nets have never been used?
 Why has Texas, which banned the use of gillnets in the 1980’s, released over 800 million Red Drum into their waters, if gillnets were truly the issue? This debate is, and always has been, about allocation or ownership of our marine resources.
Why else would a, supposedly objective, Commission choose to reward catch and release anglers with sole ownership of a bought and paid for stock while eliminating all access to anglers, seafood harvesters, and consumers who view this resource as a source of food?
The MFC and WRC could manage the CSMA Striped Bass fishery as a put and take fishery, for the benefit of all NC citizens who contribute to stocking if they choose. In the very least they could allow gillnets to be used as they were, prior to March of 2019, with restrictions that were proven to reduce the mortality of Striped Bass when the commercial harvest season was closed.
Maybe everyone who contributed to the stocking of these fish, commercial fishermen, anglers, and consumers, should let the Advisory Committees and MFC know gillnets are not the problem and their use should be allowed above the ferry lines in the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers, as it was prior to 2019!
Opportunities to offer public comment are listed below.
Will you speak up?
Glenn Skinner
NCFA- Executive Director
THE PRESS RELEASE BELOW IS FROM 2019
Date: March 14, 2019
Phone: 919-618-0968
Secretary Regan’s Statement on Marine Fisheries
Commission’s Non-Emergency
RALEIGH — N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael S. Regan issued the following statement on the emergency meeting called by the Marine Fisheries Commission this week:
I am disappointed by the Marine Fisheries Commission calling an emergency meeting with only 48 hours notice for a non-emergency. 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. 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.
nr-26-2019

REMINDER: Division of Marine Fisheries opens public comment, schedules listening session and advisory committee meetings

on Estuarine Striped Bass Plan Amendment

MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has opened public comment on the Draft Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 and will hold an online listening session about the draft amendment on March 9 at 1 p.m. The listening session prefaces three Marine Fisheries Commission advisory committee meetings where public comment will be accepted.
NCDMF Listening Session
Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2
March 9 at 1 p.m.
At the listening session, division staff will present details of the draft amendment and allow the public opportunity to ask questions. The presentation will be recorded and posted on the Information on Estuarine Striped Bass Amendment 2 webpage.
The following week, three Marine Fisheries Commission advisory committees will meet to review and accept public comment on the draft amendment. The public may attend the advisory committee meetings and give public comment by web conference or in-person. Those who wish to speak during the public comment sessions must preregister by 5 p.m. the day prior to the meeting.
Below are the meeting dates, times, locations, and speaker registration links and deadlines. All in-person meetings are being held at the Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office. Two listening stations will be available in Manteo and Wilmington. Listening Stations are locations where the public can listen to the meeting and provide comment during the public comment period. Preregistration is required for both in-person and web conference comments.
Meeting
Date
Time
Speaker Registration
Northern Regional Advisory Committee
Mar. 15
6 p.m.
Sign up to speak by 5 p.m. Mar. 14
Southern Regional Advisory Committee
Mar. 16
6 p.m.
Sign up to speak by 5 p.m. Mar. 15
Finfish Advisory Committee
Mar. 17
6 p.m.
Sign up to speak by 5 p.m. Mar. 16
In-Person Location
Listening Stations
Division of Marine Fisheries
Central District Office
5285 Highway 70 West
Morehead City
Department of Environmental Quality
Wilmington Regional Office
127 Cardinal Drive
Wilmington
Dare County Administration Building
Commissioners Meeting Room
954 Marshall C. Collins Drive
Manteo
Links to join the advisory committee meetings by web conference are posted on the Marine Fisheries Commission Advisory Committees Meetings webpage.
The public also may submit comments on the Draft Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 through an online questionnaire or through mail:
1.     Submit Online Comments – Public comments will be accepted through an online form until 5 p.m. on April 1. Click here to submit comments online.
2.     Mail Comments – Written comments may be mailed to Draft Estuarine Striped Bass FMP Amendment 2 Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. on April 1, 2022.
Emailed comments will not be accepted.
Draft Amendment 2 to the Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan was jointly developed with Wildlife Resources Commission staff. Amendment 2 contains a suite of management options to address sustainable harvest in the Albemarle Sound and Roanoke River management areas and the Tar-Pamlico, Neuse, and Cape Fear rivers. Consideration of management for hook and line as a commercial gear is also included.
A companion Decision Document to the Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 includes the Division and Wildlife Resources Commission staff initial recommendations and rationale. More information is available on the Information on Estuarine Striped Bass Amendment 2 webpage.
The Marine Fisheries Commission is scheduled to consider public comment and advisory committee input and select its preferred management measures for departmental and legislative review at its May 2022 business meeting and consider final approval of the amendment in August 2022.
For more information contact division biologists Charlton Godwin at 252-381-6000, Todd Mathes at 252-946-6481, Nathaniel Hancock at 252-381-6005, or Joe Facendola at 910-796-7291.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE:
Last week we provided a listing of primary election candidates who will be on the ballot in May for state and congressional elections. Only those races for coastal districts were listed.
Here are the links for Congressional districts and North Carolina Senate and House districts that were finalized recently. If you can’t figure out what district you are in with the new maps, drop us a note and we’ll let you know.
CONGRESSIONAL MAP:
NC SENATE MAP:
NC HOUSE MAP:
GENERAL ASSEMBLY LAST WEEK:
The Senate met for one day last Wednesday with the House meeting on Thursday. The Senate attempted to override one of Governor Cooper’s vetos but failed. In addition they passed a ‘technical corrections” bill. Those are the kinds of bills one needs to watch very closely because they can include provisions that are not just “technical” but can make substantial changes. They are also difficult to assess because leadership holds them close to the vest. When I arrived in Raleigh on Wednesday none of the Senators I spoke to had seen the bill yet.
As it turns out, the only fisheries related provision was to extend the deadline for a fisheries study by the UNC Collaboratory from June 2023 to 2025. That wasn’t a surprise to us as Jeff Warren, Executive Director for the Collaboratory informed me of their request a few weeks ago to extend the date for the final report to be made to the Environmental Review Commission.
Hopefully, the General Assembly will be done, except for maybe some committee meetings, until after the primary election in May.
God bless,
Jerry

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 07, 2022

Have you ever noticed how the CCA, like the NC Wildlife Federation, disagrees with everything the DMF/MFC says except for when they determine a fish stock is overfished? As soon as a stock assessment comes back as “overfished” they get downright giddy at the thought of reducing harvest in yet another fishery. Their giddiness is quickly followed by claims of commercial overfishing, mis-management, and “overfished for over 20 years”, with no mention of data gaps, research needs, or scientific uncertainty. I first noticed this back in 2009, when the speckled trout stock was deemed “overfished”. >click to read the update< 12:16

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for February 21, 2022

If you’ve sat through as many Marine fisheries commission and Advisory Committee meetings as I have, then you’ve certainly heard “we’ve failed to rebuild the Southern Flounder stock.” But is it true?  Continue reading at the update. >Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 09:26

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for February 14, 2022

In last weeks newsletter I mentioned a call I received from a local angler and a comment he made during our conversation. The gentleman seemed to shrug off the fact that the NC Wildlife Federation has been lying about Southern Flounder management and told me I couldn’t deny the fact that we’ve failed to rebuild the southern flounder stock or that if we had let them all spawn once we’d all get what we want, which is to harvest more fish. I took this statement as a personal challenge as I believe both claims are absurd and easy to dispute So, let’s give it a try! >click to read< 10:27

North Carolina Fisheries Association

February 14, 2022 – In last weeks newsletter I mentioned a call I received from a local angler and a comment he made during our conversation. The gentleman seemed to shrug off the fact that the NC Wildlife Federation has been lying about Southern Flounder management and told me I couldn’t deny the fact that we’ve failed to rebuild the southern flounder stock or that if we had let them all spawn once we’d all get what we want, which is to harvest more fish.

I took this statement as a personal challenge as I believe both claims are absurd and easy to dispute

So, let’s give it a try!

Let’s start with the “let em spawn” theory. The theory behind the let em spawn approach, to managing fisheries, is to raise the minimum size limit to the point that the majority of the female fish, of a particular species, are sexually mature before being harvested. In theory, this allows the majority of females to spawn, at least once, and provide more fish for everybody. Both the CCA and NC Wildlife Federation champion the let em spawn approach and claim that, letting em spawn will benefit both commercial fisherman and anglers. As you might imagine, I have a much different take on the
issue.

In my opinion, let em spawn, and every other initiative supported by the CCA and NCWF, has one goal in mind and does nothing to benefit commercial fishermen or most recreational anglers. That goal is to practically eliminate the harvest of many coastal fish species for both the commercial and recreational sectors.

For most coastal species of fish, like southern flounder, the females grow to be much larger than their male counterparts. By raising the minimum size limit, to the size where the majority of females are mature, you not only reduce the harvest of juvenile fish, you also virtually eliminate the harvest of males. Meaning, primarily females are harvested, the majority of which are sexually mature.

Is this a conservation strategy or a population control measure?

To make matters worse, there’s no guarantee that these, larger mature, females have spawned, even once, prior to being harvested. Southern Flounder grow rapidly during the warm summer months before leaving the estuaries and migrating to the ocean to spawn, in the fall and early winter. The peak fishing harvest occurs in the late summer and early fall, after these fish have reached or exceeded the minimum size limit but prior to spawning.

It’s also important to remember that these older mature females make up a very small part of a healthy fish stock. Imagine a healthy stock as a pyramid, with the largest section at the bottom being the more abundant juveniles, the smaller section in the middle being sub-adults and first-time spawners, and the little piece at the peak being older more productive spawners.

As the minimum size limit is increased it moves higher up the pyramid decreasing the number of fish that are available to be harvested. Simply put as the minimum size limit increases you focus harvest on the most productive, yet least abundant age classes. Under this type of management strategy there’s only two possible outcomes, you either limit harvest to a very, very, low level or maintain harvest levels until you remove most of the older productive females, truncating the age structure and triggering management, eventually limiting harvest to a very, very low level!

On the other hand, you could decrease the minimum size limit or implement a slot limit, shifting harvest to the more abundant smaller fish while protecting the larger more productive females, which have the spawning potential to replace the smaller fish harvested each year.

This type of management strategy has the potential to increase the number of fish that can be harvested annually and the stocks ability to replace those fish, the definition of sustainable harvest. Some of you are probably thinking, I thought the CCA and NCWF support a slot limit for southern flounder, and they do, now.

Until recently, both the CCA and Wildlife Federation supported raising the minimum size limit to 18 inches, but then changed their position to support a slot limit of 12 to 18 inches for southern flounder.

But why, the sudden change of position?

The truth is neither group supported a slot limit until the DMF made it known that they intended to recommend a quota, in the Southern Flounder fishery, based on pounds of total removals, for both sectors, with overage paybacks required. While a slot limit, on its own, could increase the number of fish harvested, a slot limit paired with this type of quota could completely eliminate harvest all together!

Again, the problem isn’t the slot limit it’s the quota based on pounds of total removals and the payback of overages. Total removals in pounds are the pounds of flounder harvested combined with the pounds of flounder that die as a result of being caught and released, or dead discards.

By decreasing the minimum size limit to 12 inches and setting the maximum size limit at 18 inches they hope to decrease the number of small fish being discarded and increase the number and weight, of larger fish being released. This will inevitably increase the average weight of discarded flounder and subsequent dead discards.

Currently the recreational sector kills and estimated 180,000 flounder annually, through dead discards in the hook and line fishery. If the average weight of those fish were to increase to just 1.48 pounds those dead discards alone would account for the entire recreational quota at a 50% / 50% recreational/ commercial allocation, completely eliminating recreational harvest.

How many fish over 18 inches do you have to release to increase the average weight to 1.48 pounds?

In 2021 the recreational sector harvested 625,000 pounds of flounder, more than double what their allocation would be at a 50% / 50% split. These fish were harvested in just 2 weeks with a 15-inch size limit and 4 fish bag limit.

How much would the season and bag limit have to be decreased if House Bill 894, supported by the CCA and NCWF, had been approved by the NC General Assembly?

That’s right, you wouldn’t have a harvest season or bag limit if they have their way!

Just like with the “let em spawn” approach the ultimate goal is to eliminate harvest and not just commercial harvest. To add insult to injury, while anglers, commercial fishermen, and consumers are forced to sacrifice in the name of “rebuilding”, the CCA is holding virtual, catch, photo, and release tournaments for flounder, encouraging anglers to target these fish outside of the harvest season. In these tournaments, CCA members only, can win prizes for their largest flounder, just by taking a picture of the flounder lying on a measuring tape.

How long do you have to keep a flounder out of the water before it calms down enough to stop flopping around and pose for a picture on a measuring tape? How much does this increase discard mortality rates?

It’s all I can do to hold one down long enough to measure it, much less let it go and take a picture!

All about the resource, conservation, and increased recreational access? I’m calling BS on all of the above!

How about you?

Next week, have we failed to rebuild the Southern Flounder stock?

As always, we’re counting on you to spread the word!

Glenn Skinner
NCFA- Executive Director
LINK TO H894 BELOW

H894v1.pdf (ncleg.gov)

UPDATE for 2.14.2022

GENERAL ASSEMBLY:

The General Assembly will meet this week on Wednesday & Thursday to address the redistricting issue. That is the only issue they are expected to discuss and vote on.

FEDERAL:

Representative Greg Murphy, R-NC3, has co-signed HR 3897: H2B Returning Worker Exception Act of 2021 on February 7th. Representative Deborah Ross, D-NC2, signed on February 9th. Representative David Rouzer, RNC7, signed on last October/

We appreciate those three who have signed on to this important legislation.
God bless,
Jerry

NCFA UPDATE: 02/14/2022
NORTH CAROLINA FISHERIES ASSOCIATION
“Serving the Commercial Fishing Families of North Carolina since 1952”
PO Box 86; Morehead City, NC 28557
Phone: (252) 726-NCFA (6232)
Fax: (252) 726-6200
www.ncfish.org

 

 

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for February 07, 2022

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had quite a few calls regarding the information we’ve shared about the disinformation surrounding the management of Southern Flounder. After last week’s newsletter, I received a call from a gentleman who was obviously an avid supporter of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and Coastal Conservation Association. The caller, a recreational angler, was concerned with my articles because he felt I was blaming anglers for “overfishing” the Sothern Flounder stock. Continue reading at the update. >Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 08:50

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for February 07, 2022

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had quite a few calls regarding the information we’ve shared about the disinformation surrounding the management of Southern Flounder. After last week’s newsletter, I received a call from a gentleman who was obviously an avid supporter of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and Coastal Conservation Association. The caller, a recreational angler, was concerned with my articles because he felt I was blaming anglers for “overfishing” the Sothern Flounder stock. He was quick to make his point that commercial fishermen remove more flounder from the stock than do recreational anglers, which is true. I assured him, my intent was not to blame anyone but simply to expose the disinformation being spread, by the groups he supported, and encourage the public to question why these groups felt it was necessary to lie to them. I fully expected him to defend the Wildlife Federations lies, as the truth, but he didn’t.
Instead, he made the following statement.
“They may be lying, but you can’t deny the fact that we’ve failed to rebuild the Southern Flounder stock or that, if we had let them all spawn once we would all get what we want, which is to harvest more fish.”
Anyone who knows me, very well, knows where this is heading. I took his statement as a personal challenge and fully intend to challenge every word, but not this week. For now, I want to address something that’s been eating at me ever since our conversation last week. I was struck by how easily he dismissed their lies because he truly believed their motives were true. I’ve never been one, who believes the ends justify the means.
I personally believe, anything gained through greed or deceit is stolen, not won, and therefore worthless, but apparently there are some who don’t feel this way.
This baffles me for one simple reason.
If you are truly doing the right thing, there’s no need to lie as the truth will surely be on your side! The mere fact that someone feels it’s necessary to lie, in order to achieve their goals, should cause everyone to question their motives. If someone is truly, trying to do what’s best for all stakeholders, not just themselves, they don’t have to lie.
That said, I do believe the gentleman who called me wants what’s best for all involved, unfortunately the groups, he’s chose to support, do not. After hearing my thoughts on flounder management, let em spawn, fisheries legislation, and the like, I could tell he was questioning many of the beliefs he had prior to our conversation.
I was so encouraged, by the end of our discussion, that I’ve decided to commit to having similar discussions with any group who will have me. If you or your group are interested in hearing the other side of the story you can give me a call or email me at:
Cell 252-646-7742            Email: [email protected]
Glenn Skinner- NCFA Executive Director

UPDATE for 2.7.2022
GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The NC Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the newly drawn districts by the General Assembly are not constitutional. The vote was 4-3 along partisan lines. The legislators will now need to convene and redraw Congressional, state Senate and House districts. The General Assembly will convene soon, probably next week, to begin to address the court’s ruling and take another look at the districts. The North Carolina primaries are currently slated for May. As noted last week, the GA voted to move the primaries to June but Governor Cooper vetoed the bill.
God bless,
Jerry

NCFA ANNUAL MEETING WILL BE HELD FEBRUARY 28 (IN PERSON/AND VIA ZOOM)
11 AM- 2:00 PM
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Washington 2090 W 15th St,
Washington, NC 27889

IT’S IMPORTANT THAT ALL MEMBERS TRY TO ATTEND OR ASSIGN PROXIES TO ATTENDING MEMBERS, AS IT
TAKES A MINIMUM OF 50, EITHER IN ATTENDANCE OR BY PROXY, TO CONDUCT BUSINESS. THIS IS THE ONE
AND ONLY MEETING A YEAR WHERE ALL MEMBERS INCLUDING HALF PERCENTERS, CAN VOTE ON ISSUES AND
GIVE DIRECTION FOR THE ORGANIZATION.
EMAIL PROXIES TO: [email protected]

Zoom registration link:
https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAqceCrqjwuEtNbIoKwoCKkTTHeu93flSG7

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for January 31, 2022

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been taking a close look at a few, of the many, false claims, regarding the management of the southern flounder fishery, made by the NC Wildlife Federation. This week we’ll be looking at one of the most audacious statements they’ve made to date. The Wildlife Federation claims that “Amendment 2 is the first known effort to effectively reduce harvest in the commercial southern flounder fishery in history. Continue reading at the update. >Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 10:03

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for January 24, 2022

I hope everyone took the time to read the “Saga of Southern Flounder” article, from the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. If not please click the link below and read it for yourself before continuing to read my comments. After reading the Wildlife Federations article, I’m sure you were shocked by their strong claims of (mis)” management” bias towards the commercial fishery, failed commercial management, and harsh recreational reductions.  Continue reading at the update. >Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<  09:25

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for January 17, 2022

The issue of Southern Flounder management, or mismanagement as some have claimed, has been a hot topic lately. Claims that commercial overharvest, imminent stock collapse, failed commercial harvest reductions, and inaction by the state are to blame for declining catches of Southern flounder are rampant. But are they true? If you asked the CCA or NC Wildlife Federation the answer would be yes but if you asked me, I’d say their claims are absurd and not supported, by the numbers. Continue reading at the update. >Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 10:33

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for January10, 2022

What the Wildlife Federation isn’t telling you about shrimp trawling in NC! Like the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), the North Carolina Wildlife Federation has very strong opinions about commercial fishing, especially the use of gill nets and shrimp trawls to harvest seafood. They consistently provide their perspective on these issues to the public, and as I pointed out last week, they specialize in playing it fast and loose with the facts. I’ll certainly be providing you with more examples of the deception in the coming weeks. (continues) >Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 09:31

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for December 10, 2021

Legislative updates, Bill updates, Calendar, >Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 08:03

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for December 3, 2021

Shocked or Not, You Should Be Disgusted! Prior to the November MFC meeting, when the draft Shrimp FMP would be voted on, the following post was made by ” Rick S ” on social media.,, Legislative updates, Bill updates, Calendar, >Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<  09:43

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Newsletter/Update for November 19, 2021

Shrimp FMP, Amendment 2:, The MFC meeting in Emerald Isle started out with a public comment period on Wednesday evening that lasted about 2 hours. The comments were limited to 3 minutes with overwhelming opposition to the DMF proposal to close certain areas to shrimping. The comments came from shrimpers, NCFA, county commissioners, a state Senator and consumers. We’ll offer a public thank you to the groups and individuals in the next update. >click to read<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<-08:40

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly & Special Update for November 12, 2021

Legislative updates, Bill updates, Calendar, >Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<  08:06

An Important Message From the North Carolina Fisheries Association, Inc. on Amendment 2, Shrimp FMP

Next week at their November 17-19 quarterly business meeting the NC Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) will hear public comment and vote on preferred management options for Amendment 2 to the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan (FMP). (https://deq.nc.gov/media/25170/open) The options being considered range from status quo (no action taken) to a complete closure of Pamlico Sound, and possibly all estuarine waters, to shrimp trawling. >click to read< 07:30

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE NORTH CAROLINA FISHERIES ASSOCIATION, Inc.

 Next week at their November 17-19 quarterly business meeting the NC Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) will hear public comment and vote on preferred management options for Amendment 2 to the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan (FMP). (https://deq.nc.gov/media/25170/open) The options being considered range from status quo (no action taken) to a complete closure of Pamlico Sound, and possibly all estuarine waters, to shrimp trawling.
 North Carolina has the second largest estuary in the U.S. with over 2.1 million acres or 3,281 square miles of estuarine (internal salt) waters. Currently approximately 1 million acres (47%) of our estuary is permanently closed to shrimp trawling and an additional 200,000 + acres are managed with seasonal closures, with a combined total of 1,207,463 acres or 1,886 square miles permanently or seasonally closed to shrimp trawling. These area closures, many of which were implemented 50+ years ago, were intended to protect areas identified as critical estuarine habitat and create safe havens or ” nursery areas ” for juvenile finfish and other marine species.
 After decades of restrictions and monitoring, the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) acknowledges that they can’t determine whether closing over half of the second largest estuary in the country, to shrimp trawling, has resulted in increases of abundance for any particular species of finfish or the improvement \ restoration of critical fish habitats within the closed areas. They also acknowledge that the potential benefits of additional area closures are unquantifiable as are the potential negative impacts, if any, to overall fish abundance or habitat from shrimp trawling under the current management strategy.
 Despite the high degree of uncertainty surrounding the potential impacts of trawling or the potential benefits of area closures, on November 1, the DMF made public their recommendations, to the MFC, for additional area closures.
 The areas identified for closure to shrimp trawling, by the DMF, are vitally important fishing grounds for recreational shrimpers and commercial fishermen who operate smaller vessels who depend on these waters to feed their families and yours.  Again, the potential benefits from these recommendations are unquantifiable but the devastating negative impacts to recreational shrimpers, fishing families, coastal communities, and seafood consumers are undeniable!
 While the DMF’s recommendations seem extreme given the undeniable uncertainty, please don’t focus solely on these recommendations, as noted above the Commission can pick from a wide range of options, some more extreme than those recommended by DMF. Instead, oppose all unquantifiable
restrictions and demand fair and equitable treatment for all stakeholders commercial, recreational, and consumer.
 Effort in North Carolina’s shrimp trawl fishery has declined dramatically in recent years, yet it has remained one of the top two fisheries by value in the state, contributing nearly $100 million and thousands of jobs to the state’s economy annually. Shrimp remains the #1 seafood preferred by American consumers and studies have shown that consumers prefer domestically produced shrimp, like those harvested from NC waters, over imported products. Even more important is the fact that food security equals national security as many Americans have recently realized due to the impacts the global pandemic has had on food supplies. Simply put, a nation that cannot feed its citizens cannot protect them!
 At this time it’s clear the negative impacts of further restrictions to shrimp trawling in NC far outweigh any quantifiable benefits , therefore the North Carolina Fisheries Association strongly urges all commercial fishermen , recreational shrimpers , and seafood consumers to join us in opposition to any further restrictions to shrimp trawling in NC waters until the state can quantify both the impacts of trawling , if any , under the current management strategy and the potential benefits , again if any , of further restrictions.
 It’s not unreasonable for an industry to demand to be scientifically identified as a problem before being labeled and managed as one!   Is it?
 Public comment will be heard at The Islander Hotel & Resort
102 Islander Dr, Emerald Isle on Wednesday Nov. 17, at 6pm and the discussion and vote on preferred management measures will occur on Thursday Nov. 18. Please plan to attend on both days and let your opposition to further restrictions be known.
Glenn Skinner
Executive Director-
North Carolina Fisheries Association, Inc.

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for November 5, 2021

Legislative updates, Bill updates, Calendar, >Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<  10:18