Tag Archives: Coastal Conservation Association

Why Omega Protein has stirred up a big stink about a small fish

The disagreement between activists and Omega Protein depends on the answer to a simple question: Are there enough menhaden in the Gulf of Mexico? Omega says there are plenty, and it wants to keep it that way. Members of the Sierra Club Gulf Coast Group, the Coastal Conservation Association and other groups have their doubts.  It’s an argument recreational fishermen and conservationists have been having with Omega for years. Omega has a menhanden reduction plant in Moss Point and regularly fishes the Mississippi Sound. The opposition to its activities began anew with vigor earlier this year when Omega began seeking a “certified sustainable seafood” designation from the Marine Stewardship Council. MSC is a London-based nonprofit (although it collects royalties from licensing its “ecolabel”) that was set up in 1997 by the World Wildlife Fund and Unilever, a global conglomerate that was at the time one of the world’s largest producers of frozen seafood. click here to read the story 10:28

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

Sandy Semans Ross – My view: N.C. Wildlife Federation petition is short on science and facts

The Outer Banks Catch is a nonprofit focused on providing fact-based education to consumers about the commercial fishing industry and communities, and the habitat and water quality needed to maintain a robust fishery. With that mission comes a responsibility to correct erroneous statements whether made in the press or, such as in this case, in petitions for rule-making before the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission. The petition filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF) is based on the work of Jack Travelstead, an employee of the Coastal Conservation Association, and former Division of Marine Fisheries director, Louis Daniel, now contracted with NCWF.  The document, amendment and submitted public comments contain few statements that Outer Banks Catch could provide to the public and stand behind their legitimacy. It requests designating all inland waters and three miles out into the ocean as a huge special secondary nursery area, thus prohibiting almost all shrimp trawling. Read the op-ed here 09:19

COASTAL CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Several private anglers and the Coastal Conservation Association, a group representing private anglers (collectively, CCA), appeal the district court’s summary judgment dismissal of their lawsuit, which challenged Amendment 40 to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan and the Final Rule implementing that amendment. Because we find that Amendment 40 is consistent with its organic statute and was properly devised and implemented, we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court. This dispute centers on the management of the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico. Read the complaint here 09:28

McCrory set stage for latest threat to shrimping

The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission appears poised to pass a new regulation that many critics say will drastically impact, perhaps even shut down, North Carolina’s shrimping industry. On Jan. 17, the Marine Fisheries Commission will be holding a hearing in New Bern on the rule, which would essentially make all inland waterways a “secondary nursery” for fin fish, significantly curtailing the use of trawl nets to harvest shrimp. After a huge turnout at a public hearing in 2013, the MFC denied a petition from an individual angler to implement similar rules. But with anti-shrimping forces possessing what appears to be a super-majority on the MFC, the petition and hearings are back, this time proposed by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, a group closely allied with the Coastal Conservation Association — a special interest group that has long sought to ban shrimp trawls and finfish netting from the state’s inland waters. Ironically, local commercial fishermen, who have heavily supported the GOP in state elections, have former Governor Pat McCrory to thank for their predicament. Read the story here 10:56

Sport groups pressure Oregon governor to stop changes in Columbia River net plan

gillnetter, youngs bayFour powerful sportfishing groups have asked Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to keep the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission from significantly altering a plan to move gill-nets from the lower Columbia River in 2017. In a stern letter delivered Monday to the governor and commission, the coalition threatens to withdraw support from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife if a revision to the Columbia River Plan is adopted. It was signed by representatives of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Association of Northwest Steelheaders, Coastal Conservation Association and the Northwest Guides and Anglers Association. Read the rest here 11:06

Gillnetters: Kitzhaber plan doesn’t deliver

kitzhaberLower Columbia River gillnetters told the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Nov. 9 that fishery harvest reforms initiated in 2013 are not working economically, while salmon and steelhead anglers accused the commission of vacating its promise to get gillnetters off the river. As many as 150 people attended the Salem commission meeting and public forum on mainstem fishery harvest reforms, where comments were heard on a proposal by ODFW that would continue gillnetting in some areas of the mainstem river. The harvest reform package, also known as the Kitzhaber plan, is in its final year of transition and was to become fully effective at the beginning of 2017 when all Columbia River mainstem fishing would be allocated to recreational anglers and commercial gillnetters would fish in off-channel select areas, mostly in the lower river and mostly for hatchery chinook and coho salmon. However, the reform also promised to keep gillnetters economically whole, but the actual plan implementation is lagging in hatchery production of smolts, identifying additional off-channel areas and developing alternative gear that would allow commercial fishers to better target hatchery fish, among other issues. Read the rest here 10:41

Astoria gillnetters, recreational anglers renew battle – Kitzhaber salmon plan getting tough review

ar-161119972-jpgmaxw600More than 100 people filled Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s meeting room Wednesday as the state wildlife commission heard testimony on the status of Columbia River salmon and steelhead runs and how they are harvested by commercial and sport anglers. The commission won’t take additional action on the recommendations until December, but the argument is hot and divisive. Recreational anglers, including fishing guides and led by the Coastal Conservation Association, are furious at the proposal and consider it a betrayal of the four-year transition plan agreed to by Oregon and Washington state. Dozens of them piled into the meeting room, many wearing red CCA hats and sporting stickers proclaiming “No broken promises.” In a letter to commission members, CCA Oregon Chairman Dave Schamp said it would be irresponsible to allow the gillnet fleet’s continued use of “archaic and destructive gear.” He and others believe beach and purse seines are a viable alternative to gillnets. Commercial fishers strongly disagree. Read the story here, and read Kitzhaber salmon plan getting tough review – Read the story here 15:20

Judge blocks closure of southern flounder fishing. Will it be appealed?

A Wake County Superior Court judge has issued an injunction preventing the NCDMF_trnsprntN.C. Marine Fisheries Commission from closing the entire southern flounder fishery from October 16 through January 1. During its November 2015 meeting at Jeanette’s Pier, the commission voted 6-3 to shut down both the commercial and recreational fisheries for southern flounder during the fourth quarter of 2016. A lawsuit was filed by the New Bern-based North Carolina Fisheries Association, the Carteret County Fishermen’s Association, as well as Dare, Hyde and Carteret counties, against the commission’s action, and resulted in a temporary restraining order being issued on Sept. 28. After two hours of testimony on Oct. 6 from attorneys representing the NCFA and the state, Superior Court Judge John Jolly, Jr. issued an order preventing the Division of Marine Fisheries from instituting the October 16 closure. When the MFC voted for the closure last year, interest groups from the commercial fishing industry, which were opposed to the ban, lined up against the recreation-oriented Coastal Conservation Association and Recreational Fishing Alliance. Read the story here 09:39

CCA is telling fish tales about Omega Protein

0420%20biop%20Kenny%20HebertOn April 2, the Sun Herald published an op-ed from the spokesman of the Coastal Conservation Association — Mississippi, F.J. Eicke (“A most important fish raises need for public scrutiny”), that was filled with more holes than a fisherman’s net. Sadly, time and time again, Mr. Eicke has demonstrated dismissiveness toward sustainable fisheries and the hardworking men and women of Mississippi’s commercial fishing industry. A major contention offered by Mr. Eicke is that Mississippi’s resident menhaden stock is troubled. This statement is 100 percent incorrect and is little more than a scare tactic. There is no such thing as “Mississippi menhaden.” Due to their very nature — their biology and habitat — menhaden are a Coastwide migratory species, which is why menhaden stock assessments are conducted on a Coastwide basis. Read the rest here 21:47

Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources denies request for 1-mile menhaden fishing limit

0420_BILO_BI%20menhaden%20p1The Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources denied Jackson County’s request to limit menhaden fishing to at least a mile off the county’s mainland. The vote was unanimous and came after the commission listened to arguments from both sides of the issue. On March 7, the Jackson County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to ask the state to limit menhaden boats to 1 mile offshore. The move would have closed 22 square miles of the Sound to commercial fishing by the company Omega Protein of Moss Point. Both the Coastal Conservation Association and Omega Protein went before the CMR. In the final vote, it came down to science and concern for industry. Read the article here 19:23

Coastal Conservation Association Mississippi spokesman attacks Gulf Menhaden Fishery

F.J. Eicke, spokesman for the Coastal Conservation Association MississippiThe menhaden fishery is a bit of an enigma to the public, but the activity of the purse seine boats is well-known to many recreational anglers, conservationists and charter fishermen. The pogie boats set their nets after an aircraft survey and direct the boats to schools of menhaden so that these vital forage fish can be removed in massive amounts from our waters. The catch data is not widely known but reaches 83,439.2 metric tons (183,949,994 pounds) in landings at the Moss Point plant for the 2014 season, as reported by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Read the article, Click here  10:54

Commercial fishermen want state to halt Columbia River gillnet ban

Commercial gillnetters said Oregon should halt its phased-in ban of their salmon fishing method in the main channel of the Columbia River. Speaking to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlfe Commission on Friday, panelists representing gillnetters said alternative commercial fishing methods are expensive or unproven, and plans to develop salmon runs in side channels show little promise. Astoria fisherman Jim Wells, president of , said only big migratory fish returns the past couple years have kept gillnetters operating. He said limiting gillnetting to the Columbia’s side channel sloughs will cost commercial anglers two-thirds of their income. Read the rest here 08:48

Net Effect: The fight over flounder

David Sneed is executive director of thegillnet southern flounder, the main group representing recreational fishermen. He says commercial fishermen have blocked attempts to reduce the use of gill nets. “The science has been there to say, ‘Hey, we need to pull back on this. We’re over-harvesting these fish,’ but the push has always been there to say, ‘No, we need to catch more fish, you know, we need to be able to make money off of this resource.’” But Jerry Schill, executive director of the NC Fisheries Association, the main group representing commercial fishermen, says the flounder fishery is not being overharvested. Read the rest here 09:19

Southern Flounder – Disputed fisheries studies: Politics or inexact science?

flounder-southernScience plays a big role in managing fisheries. Scientists assess fish stocks, migration patterns, environmental issues — useful data that allow regulators to set policy. We expect our science to be accurate and unaffected by politics, and as citizens, we expect political actors to treat science in the same manner.,, Yet a series of e-mails found their way into the public domain from a 2007 round-robin discussion among several N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries scientists trying to peg a mortality rate for speckled seatrout caught by recreational anglers. See video  It would take a few hundred words to demonstrate where science goes off the rails and how other factors, including interest group reactions, exert an influence on what is expected to be an unbiased, fact-driven process. Read the rest here 10:30

Makeup of N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission board invites political intrigue

State law authorizes a Marine Fisheries Commission to set policies governing the harvest of the state’s fish stock. It also says the commission is supposed to treat commercial and recreational interests fairly. But the commission was designed in such a manner that a balancing act between the two competing interests on the board is all but impossible.The board’s makeup also lends itself to political intrigue in the appointment of members by the governor. The problem lies in how the nine seats are allocated. Read the rest here 08:11

Dirty Politics – High rollers, big names back CCA agenda across U.S. & N.C.

“The CCA has nothing to do with conservation unless you consider sport fishermen having all of a certain species allocated to themselves as conservation.” Those are the words of author Robert Fritchey, who wrote the definitive book tracing the history of the Coastal Conservation Association, titled “Wetland Riders”. The CCA traces its roots to Texas in 1977 and was originally founded by mostly wealthy anglers in Houston. Fritchey ticked off the names of those early leaders in the first chapter: Read the rest here 07:27

CCA’s small numbers has large grip on N.C. politics, fisheries

Battle-For-SeafoodApproach any recreational angler wetting a line from the surf, a pier, a bridge or a boat and ask, “Are you a member of the CCA?” It’s far more than an even bet that not only will the response be “No,” but more than likely, “What is the CCA? But visit legislators in Raleigh and ask them about the . Chances are every single lawmaker knows of the CCA and has likely been lobbied by a representative of the group. When Sam Walker and myself traveled to Raleigh in 2014 to interview Sen. Bill Cook and Rep. Paul Tine, we brought with us a basket of questions. Read the rest here 11:37

Kenai River Classic approach to future of fishing — Forum brings together leaders in recreational fishing industry

classic-roundtable-murkowski (1)Don’t let the term “recreational” mislead you, sportfishing is serious business, and panelists at the Classic Roundtable on National Recreational Fishing made the case for it to be taken more seriously in public perception and federal fisheries management. The roundtable was put on Wednesday at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association as part of its annual Kenai River Classic fundraising event. The panel consisted of various national leaders in the sportfishing community, representing Yamaha Marine, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Center for Coastal Conservation Board of Directors, American Sportfishing Association, Alaska Oil and Gas Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the Coastal Conservation Association. Read the rest here 10:46

Coastal Conservation Association is all about catching fish for fun, not food – they want to take it off your table!

Readers of the June 26, 2015 op-ed in the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer written by the executive director of the Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina might have the impression that the organization is all about protecting marine resources. But the CCA’s record over the last 30 years shows a grab for the resource – working to make sure that access to the public trust resource is restricted to recreational anglers and off limits to commercial fishermen. It’s an ugly track record with calls for gamefish status for three delicious fish, which would make them off limits to commercial fishermen and remove striped bass, speckled trout, and red drum from your dinner plate. Read the rest here 08:09

Is there a dark side to North Carolina’s fishing heritage? Just more ENGO bunk?

According to David Sneed there is! Plenty of colorful stories about our state’s heritage of commercial fishing are published on a regular basis across North Carolina throughout the year. Who does not enjoy reading about a coastal visit to feast on a Calabash-style seafood dinner? But there is another side to the story about fresh, local seafood that no one wants to tell. It’s a story that includes references to overfishing and depleted stocks endangering fishery resources for future generations. Read the rest here 11:52

Fish Grab – Sportfishers ask Gov. Kate Brown to rescind appointment of gill-net strategist

gillnetter, youngs bayA contingent of groups representing the Oregon sportfishing community have asked Gov. Kate Brown to rescind her appointment of a commercial gill-net industry lobbyist to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. The Coastal Conservation Association, Northwest Steelheaders, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Northwest Guides & Anglers Association and McKenzie River Guides have urged their members to contact state senators and ask them not to confirm Bruce Buckmaster’s 4-year appointment. Read the rest here 17:39

Contentious! Gill-net strategist appointed to fish and wildlife commission

Gov. Kate Brown set the hook on sport anglers this past week with her appointment of an Astoria gill-net industry strategist to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. Bruce Buckmaster’s  nomination, due for Senate confirmation in a hearing May 14, is already drawing rapid and rabid fire. A closed meeting scheduled for Wednesday in the Oregon State Library to introduce appointees to invited user groups was canceled late Friday by the governor’s office. Spokesmen for both the Oregon chapter of the Coastal Conservation  Association,,, Read the rest here 09:51

Hard choices for the Chesapeake

ASMFC SidebarThe current position of ASMFC for stripers is that “Projections of female SSB (spawning stock biomass) and fishing mortality suggest if the current fishing mortality rate (0.20) is maintained during 2013-2017, the probability of the stock being overfished is high and increases until 2015-2016, but declines thereafter. Read the rest here 11:31

North Carolina: Commercial drum season reopens

While commercial fishermen said they saw a large abundance of red drum in the local waters and deny implications of hurting the resource, concerns have been raised by Coastal Conservation Association about the large overage and the possibility of illegal targeting of red drum by commercial fishermen. Read the rest here 19:15

Disputed National Marine Fisheries Service data leads to a correction

nmfs_logoAfter significant objection from the recreational fishing and boating community, the National Marine Fisheries Service is taking steps to correct a key fisheries economics  report that misleadingly indicated that the domestic commercial fishing industry in the United States was significantly larger than the recreational fishing industry. Furthermore, the corrected data show that the domestic commercial fishing industry actually decreased by $2.3 billion in 2012. Read more here  Read the “correction” 14:24

N.C. gill net limits hurt watermen’s livelihoods

gill nets john norrisJohn Norris stiffly eased down into his flat-bottom boat using a small step ladder and a helping hand from his fishing partner and wife, Brenda. If he tilts too far, he falls over. Norris, a 68-year-old commercial waterman, is being treated for cancer. He’s had operations on both knees and shoulders, and he carries vertical and horizontal scars more than 12 inches long crisscrossing his torso. Read more here 09:57

Recreational Fishing and Boating Community Calls on Congress to Revamp Marine Fisheries Management

“Congress should establish a national policy to promote saltwater recreational fishing,” said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association. “In addition, Congress must open the ‘rusted-shut’ door of marine fisheries allocation to achieve the greatest benefit to the nation.”A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries identifies six key policies that would achieve the commission’s vision. Those recommendations primarily focus on the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Read more here  09:33

Coastal Conservation Association says commercial fishermen exaggerating how many sea turtles impacted by recreational fishing.

While plaintiffs (the NCFA and CCFA) imply that state hook-and-line fishermen accounted for 45 percent of sea turtle interactions according to 2013 North Carolina Sea Turtle Strandings and Salvage Network (STSSN) information, the actual STSSN data show that state recreational fishermen accounted for no more than 25 percent of fishing gear interactions with sea turtles and 4 percent of gear-caused sea turtle fatalities,” the CCA stated. Read more here  carolinacoastonline  15:00

Local view: Sweeping salmon harvest reforms tread water

About a year ago, The Columbian wisely urged the Fish and Wildlife commissions of Oregon and Washington to adopt sweeping salmon harvest reforms on the Columbia River (In Our View: Regulate Gillnets, 12/7/2012). Coastal Conservation Association Washington concurred, and lodged immediate support for the four-year phase-in plan. The sweeping changes would relegate deadly, non-selective commercial gillnets,,, Read more here theoregonian 12:43