Op-ed: E-mails continue a troubling practice on fisheries panel

With a critical vote pending on a petition to limit shrimp trawling in state waters, a member of the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission made no secret of his position in an e-mail to a concerned chef from Charlotte. The e-mail was among several by Commissioner Chuck Laughridge to people who had submitted written comments on the petition, which supporters say is aimed at protecting fish species that are discarded as by-catch after they are hauled in by shrimp nets. Laughridge wrote the e-mails despite warnings from the commission’s lawyer about conducting business outside of public meetings and expressing opinions on pending issues before the fisheries panel has fully debated and voted on them. We at Outer Banks Catch are troubled by these continuing private communications. The commission is already under the cloud of a 2016 audit that cited several potential violations of open meetings laws in e-mail communications among its members. With the potentially devastating impact of limits to shrimp trawling on commercial watermen and consumers up and down the East Coast, the commission more than ever must be above-board. Continue reading the Op-ed here 22:38