Tag Archives: North Carolina.

NCFA Weekly Update for April 15, 2024

Thank You. I want to thank everyone for coming out to the AC meetings last week. You filled the seats at every meeting and your comments and conversations before, during, and afterwards sent a loud and clear message! We all know the importance of SAV (submerged aquatic vegetation) but we also know these proposed trawl closure lines extend well beyond just protecting grass! NCFA knows these proposed trawling closures are not necessary and there is no supporting science that says closing these areas to shrimpers will restore grass beds. Save Our Shrimpers Act, inclusion in the Farm Bill, more, >>click to read the update<< 07:45

Coastal Georgia Shrimping: A new season of uncertainty, possibilities and hope

In a word, “difficult,” said Dee Kicklighter of their most recent shrimping season. Kicklighter, who has worked with Mathews for about eight years, has seen first-hand how the unpredictability of the business can be costly. “You plan for something to be one price, and then the next week you come back, and it could be potentially thousands of dollars more, depending on what you’re dealing with,” he said of fluctuating prices, including fuel. Over the years, Mathews said the ever-changing cost of fuel has taken a toll on the number of shrimpers in the industry. It’s not just Georgia shrimpers contending with the negative effects from imports. North Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Florida and other coastal states are also feeling the friction of narrowing profit margins that threaten their way of life. Photos, more, >>click to read<< 09:15

New Bedford – True North Seafood to shut down city plant

One of the city’s largest seafood processors is shutting down its waterfront facility, laying off as many as 94 local workers as the company consolidates its production in Virginia. True North Seafood, a subsidiary of Canadian seafood giant Cooke, announced the sudden decision to its staff at a floor meeting Thursday morning. The company is a leading distributor of imported fish, processing more than 16 million pounds of salmon each year, according to its website. Cooke has both harvesting and processing operations spanning 15 countries and over 13,000 workers. Its revenues are north of $4 billion, according to a recent interview with CEO Glenn Cooke. more, >>click to read<< 20:16

Fishermen keep fighting against offshore turbines

It’s a fishing story that’s not being told. That is how some members of the North Carolina For-Hire Captain’s Association (NCFHCA) feel about what they see as a threat offshore wind turbines would pose to the local fishing industry, economy, wildlife and environment. “No matter how we feel or whatever, the feds are shoving this down our throat and it doesn’t matter what we say,” said Capt. Cane Faircloth, a NCFHCA board member who handles media, public relations and marketing for the association of about 300 people. The subject is dear to the heart of Dr. Nick Degennaro of Southport, who has worked in the offshore industry for 30 years and has a doctorate in commercial engineering from the University of Rhode Island. He is opposed to offshore wind energy. This issue is so important to him, “because it’s going to destroy the ocean,” he said. Degennaro said areas that have offshore wind turbines become “dead zones” for fishing. more, >>click to read<< 10:48

Fisheries committees to discuss possible trawling closures to protect submerged aquatic vegetation

Three advisory committees of the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will meet in April to discuss a proposal to protect submerged aquatic vegetation through shrimp trawl area closures. The meetings will be held in person and live-streamed on YouTube. Public comments will be accepted in person during the meetings. The commission’s northern advisory committee will meet April 9 at 6 p.m. in the Dare County Board of Commissioners’ meeting room in Manteo. The Southern Advisory Committee will meet April 10 at 6 p.m. in the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries central district office at 5285 Highway 70 West in Morehead City. The shellfish/crustacean advisory committee will meet April 11 at 6 p.m. in the central district office. more, >>click to read<< 15:19

Commercial fishermen react to MFC mullet decision

While many commercial fishermen prefer day-of-the-week closures, which the Marine Fisheries Commission voted to approve as its preferred fishery management for striped mullet, to daily trip limits, they don’t see the need for mullet regulations. “It’s a no-win situation for us one way, shape, or form,” said Mike Langowski, a commercial mullet fisherman in Frisco. “So, I’ve got to live with whatever it is they come up with.” Many commercial fishermen in North Carolina are not against the regulation of their industry, because they need a healthy, viable stock to continue to make money. more, >>click to read<< 09:36

Fewer shrimpers are hitting the water in North Carolina

You remember what Forrest Gump says after he becomes a shrimp boat captain: “Shrimping tough! “Well, that’s certainly true in North Carolina, where shrimp is the second-most commercially harvested seafood. The total dockside value of shrimp in the state in 2022, what seafood dealers pay before it gets sold wholesale, was about $10 million. That’s down from about $30 million in the 1980s and 1990s. The slip in value has led to a decline in the number of licensed shrimpers hitting the water, to the lowest on record in 2022. Reporter Johanna Still looked into what’s behind it all. more, >>listen or read<< 10:55

Late ‘Wicked Tuna’ captain’s family, friends request support for jetty project instead of flowers

Following the recent loss of two local fishermen around the dangerous Oregon Inlet, grassroots efforts are underway to revitalize the controversial jetty project that the federal government shut down over two decades ago. “In lieu of flowers, the family requests your support in establishing a jetty project for Oregon Inlet,” states the online obituary for Charles “Charlie” Marshall Griffin, also known as “Grif.” The 62-year-old, famed boat captain from Nags Head appeared on “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks,” a National Geographic reality TV series. Chad Dunn, 36, of Wanchese, remains missing after being onboard during the same voyage, and the U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for him the evening of March 5. Both Griffin and Dunn were well-respected watermen who had crossed the inlet countless times, their peers told state legislators as they shared frustration with the lack of dredging due to permitting red tape at a meeting in Manteo last Wednesday. more, >>click to read<< 08:47

NCFA Weekly Update for March 11, 2024

I was recently forwarded a copy of the CCA NC’s newsletter Tidelines which included a recap of the February 2024 meeting of the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC). There was one item from their recap which I found particularly interesting  titled “Issues from Commissioners.” During the Issues from Commissioners portion of the MFC agenda, Commissioners are allowed to put forward issues they’d like to discuss at future meetings or request clarification or information, from Division staff, on issues of personal concern to them.  During this portion of the February 2024 meeting, three commissioners, Robert McNeil, Mike Blanton, and Tom Roller, chose to bring forward personal issues to the Commission. >>click to read<< Weekly Update for March 11, 2024 15:50

After the death of 2 fishermen, Outer Banks watermen call for dredging in notoriously rough waters

Ten Outer Banks watermen passionately spoke against the red tape surrounding permits for Oregon Inlet dredging that they say has a human cost. They were among about 80 attendees at a state commission meeting held Wednesday afternoon at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island in Manteo. “All this red tape and all that permits cost us two of my dearest friends’ lives Sunday night,” longtime local fisherman Michael Merritt stated, choking up. He and several other speakers during public comment referenced the recent death of Capt. Charlie “Griff” Griffin of “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” fame and the assumed death of Chad Dunn, who is missing from the same tragic voyage that ended in what is widely assumed as a boating accident near the treacherous Oregon Inlet. Merritt said he and “all us have…lost two dear friends, and not because they were amateurs — they were well adept and knew how to do it.” more, >>click to read<< 08:38

Saint Helena seafood company recalls landing a role in ‘Forrest Gump,’ still has receipts

In the fall of 1993, a film crew in search of shrimp pulled up to a seafood market on the island’s northeastern edge. They would need about 4,000 pounds, they told Gay Seafood Co. co-owner Charles Gay. Paramount Pictures would pay the bill. “We can do that,” Gay said. The production team bought just over 6,000 pounds in total for the making of “Forrest Gump.” Thirty years later, the film is cemented as an American classic, and Gay still has the receipts that prove Gay Fish Co.’s role in its production. more, >>click to read<< 08:41

U.S. Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater off Oregon Inlet

The Coast Guard says they have suspended the search for a missing boater off of Oregon Inlet on North Carolina’s Outer. The Coast Guard found 65-year-old Captain Charlie Griffin of Wanchese dead after a boat heading to the Outer Banks was reported as overdue on Sunday. 36-year-old Chad Dunn remained missing Tuesday night when the Coast Guard suspended the search. more, >>click to read<< 06:11

Capt. Charlie Griffin, ‘Wicked Tuna’ star, dies in boating accident on the Outer Banks; passenger missing

Capt. Charlie “Griff” Griffin of “Wicked Tuna” fame died on the Outer Banks after his boat went missing Sunday night near Oregon Inlet. A person with him remained missing Monday evening, Around 11:35 p.m. Sunday, the Coast Guard received a report of two overdue boaters transiting in a recreational vessel from Virginia Beach to Wanchese, where the boat was going for repairs, a Coast Guard spokesperson said by phone. The last communication with those on the boat had been about 6:15 p.m. Sunday. The Coast Guard and local first responders were searching the oceanfront between Nags Head and Rodanthe by water and ATV on the beach when the boat was found south of Oregon Inlet about 70 yards off shore in the break, the spokesperson said. more, >>click to read<< 17:32

State fisheries advisory committees to review issue paper on trawling closures to protect submerged aquatic vegetation

A controversial proposal that could lead to shrimp trawling area closures to protect submerged aquatic vegetation took a step toward future consideration by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission last week. The commission, policy-making arm of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, voted during its quarterly business meeting in New Bern to refer an issue paper pertaining to the concept to its northern, southern and shellfish/crustacean advisory committees to get input from the public. Glenn Skinner, executive director of the N.C. Fisheries Association, a Morehead City-based trade and lobbying group for commercial watermen, said he and his members are concerned, in part because the state has already permanently or seasonally closed more than 1.2 million acres of estuarine waters to shrimp trawling. more, >>click to read<< 10:18

An era ends: Wanchese seafood operation to close in March

Started as a small business 88 years ago by a native Outer Banks fisherman, the Wanchese Fish Co., now a global behemoth, is closing the doors of its production fish offloading and packing operations here. The fish operation on Mill Landing Road in this historic fishing village on the south end of Roanoke Island will be shuttered March 29,,, Wanchese Fish Co., located along the wharf in Wanchese Marine Industrial Park, was purchased by Cooke Seafood USA in 2015, part of the Cooke family’s international aquaculture and seafood company. The Wanchese company had maintained its family-owned operation after the sale.  Wanchese Trawl & Supply Co., a marine and fishing equipment retail store that Wanchese Fish Co. started in 1976, will remain open, Richardson said. Also, Shoreland Transport USA, an associated cargo and freight company based in Suffolk, will continue to operate its Outer Banks route. more, >>click to read<< 10:57

50 commercial watermen and women help with 10th annual Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project

The North Carolina Coastal Federation has announced that the 10th year of its Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project is wrapping up, and usable, tagged lost gear is ready to be reclaimed. The Coastal Federation said that along the state’s coast, 50 commercial watermen and women collectively spent nearly 150 working days on the water throughout January retrieving lost crab pots from the sounds. An additional part of the project will take place in Marine Patrol District 1 in the northeast region, the nonprofit said. Whole pots, in good condition, recovered from the Albemarle and Pamlico Sound region will be available for the rightful property owners to claim. This includes crab pots retrieved from the Virginia state line and Manteo to Swan Quarter and from the Outer Banks to Ocracoke. more, >>click to read<< 09:25

Harkers Island residents demand removal of neglected shrimp boat disrupting local harbor

The bottom line is the community wants this eyesore gone. Miss Becky has drifted around Brooks Creek Harbor for 2 years. It’s labeled as a derelict vessel by the Wildlife Resource Commission, which means it’s a vessel that is neglected with an identifiable owner. The owner is Douglas Oneil Junior who was just released from prison after being convicted of felony littering charges with his vessels. He faces those same charges with this shrimp boat. Video, more, >>click to read<< 09:11

A Voice for Commercial Fishermen – Sharon Lee Peele Kennedy of Buxton, North Carolina has passed away

Born February 9, 1956, Sharon Lee Peele Kennedy, a lady known for her beautiful smile and her passion for life, passed peacefully at her home in Buxton on January 26, 2024, with her beloved sons by her side and surrounded by her loving family. Sharon was the force that started NC Catch and became a voice for the commercial fishing industry. Sharon’s name will forever be part of NC Catch, Outer Banks Catch, and the Outer Banks Seafood Festival. Being the daughter of a commercial fisherman, her passion ran deep for the industry. Just as passionate about cooking, Sharon wrote multiple cookbooks and hosted a radio show for the past ten years that carried the name of her cookbooks, “What’s for Supper.” more, >>click to read<< 08:55

Fisheries division schedules day-long symposium on troubled summer flounder fishery

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) has scheduled a day-long symposium on the southern flounder fishery, which is in such bad shape that the spring season was canceled in 2023 and the fall season was only a couple of weeks long. The event will be Wednesday, March 20 at the Riverfront Convention Center in New Bern and will begin at 9 a.m. The symposium will provide an opportunity for stakeholders, researchers and division staff to discuss various topics related to southern flounder, which up until the last few years has been one of the most valuable finfish species harvested by commercial and recreational fishermen in the state. more, >>click to read<< 07:41

Commercial Fisherman Thomas Woodrow “Tommy Derr” Johnson of North Carolina has passed away

Thomas Woodrow “Tommy Derr” Johnson, 80, crossed the sandbar on January 5th, 2023 at ECU Health Medical Center in Greenville, NC after a short illness. Fishing was Tommy’s life. For nearly 70 years, he spent the majority of his time beach “seine” fishing with a truck & dory and whatever hands he could get. Of those hands, he spent many years teaching & passing along his knowledge and experience of his craft to many cousins, nieces, nephews and scallywags along the way. He also loved gillnet fishing in the Sound and crabbed & shrimped for fun with family recreationally. When not fishing for a living, he spent many a day hanging and mending nets, working on boats, gear or docks. Even well into his seventies , Tommy had dreams to go on one last fishing trip. more, >>click to read<< 08:15

Why You Should Eat Wild Caught Fish From the Great Lakes

We have been following the plight of commercial fishing on the Great Lakes for several years. As a result, we have been contacted by folks around the country to let us know that the assault on commercial fishing for wild caught fish is happening not only in Michigan but also in every fishing area in North America. If things don’t change soon, Michigan’s remaining dozen commercial fish operations will cease. This means we must import fish like Walleye and Perch from Canada. This means restaurants, the American Legion, and other pubs offering fresh Great Lakes fish today may be unable to offer it tomorrow. Everheart gives some of the best descriptions of the asinine rules that commercial fishers operate in the Outer Banks as they do here in Michigan. She also outlines some chilling facts about farm-raised seafood that Americans import and consume from Asia and Canada. Photos, Video, >>click to read<< 13:25

Fisheries Association still contends tough new rules for mullet fishery are unnecessary

With three N.C. Marine Fisheries advisory committees set this week to make recommendations for changes in the striped mullet management plan, a trade and lobbying group for commercial fishermen is still saying tougher restrictions on the fishery are not needed. In an email Monday, Glenn Skinner, executive director of the Morehead City-based N.C. Fisheries Association said, “The most current DMF data and anecdotal reports from stakeholders seeing more mullet than have been seen in decades suggest that the striped mullet stock is rapidly expanding. “Yet,” Skinner added, “DMF has disregarded these obvious and undeniable signs of improvement and, once again, recommended draconian reductions that seem totally unnecessary when all relevant data is considered. more, >>click to read<< 13:35

Michael Burden Clarkin “Captain Mike”, of North Carolina, has passed away

Michael Burden Clarkin, born in Corpus Christi, Texas on October 21, 1950, died on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on January 5, 2024, after a long illness. On the Outer Banks, Mike found his happy place and spent the rest of his life there. This is where “Captain Mike” was born. He spent years at the helm of multiple charter and commercial fishing boats, even gaining the honor of Captain of the Year in 1994. If you were to look through the annals of captains on the Outer Banks, you would find many who started under the guidance of Captain Mike. more, >>click to read<< 11:30

Hook, line and sinking: What’s the future of NC’s commercial fishing industry?

With a well-trained hook of the line by one of the founders and co-owners of Wilmington’s Seaview Crab Company, a few loops around the puller and a flick of a switch, the crab pot soon emerged. Inside the pot, a dozen or so blue crabs scampered around, some using their impressive claws to attach themselves to the mesh-sides of the cage. “It’s not always easy, but this never gets old,” Romano, 44, said as he emptied the crabs into a holding bin before checking to make sure they were all of legal size, the lucky ones getting tossed back into the waterway. The others were divided by size into containers to be sold individually − “These are the ones everyone wants,” Romano joked as he held up a good-sized crab − or to be sent to a crab house to be picked apart for their meat. photos, more, >>click to read<< 07:12

Lifelong Commercial Fisherman Carlton Maxwell Muse, Sr. of Pamlico, North Carolina has passed away

Carlton Maxwell Muse Sr. passed peacefully at 92 years old in his home on Sunday, November 12, 2023, while watching the sunrise over Broad Creek. According to his birth certificate, Carlton was debatably born on July 31, 1931, but his mother told him otherwise. Carlton “Mack,” or “Son” as he was referred to by his parents, was as salty as they come. He was a proud U.S. Coast Guard Veteran, serving in both active duty and USCG reserves. He was also a lifelong commercial fisherman, who was once air lifted off the F/V Miss Pamlico when she hit the bottom in Oregon Inlet. Year after year he would trawl the waters from the Mid- Atlantic all the way to Key West, Fla. He loved fishing so much that he would move his family to the Keys once a year, just for shrimp season. Carlton and his family would always find their way back home, to Little Pamlico. When he finally grew tired of the wind in his face, the salt in his hair, and missing Shirley May way too often, he opened C.M. Muse Seafood.   >>click to read<< 07:40

Fish house keeps fresh fish on the table

Every day, the Ocracoke Seafood Company sends about 4,500 pounds of locally caught fish off to places beyond. Sometimes Shane Mason gets up at 3 a.m. to drive the refrigerated truck on a four-plus-hour run to drop off the previous day’s catch to Jeffrey’s in Hatteras. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are big market days, he said while icing down fish brought in by one of several local commercial fishermen, packing them into boxes and loading them onto pallets. From Jeffrey’s, the Ocracoke catch goes all over, especially to New York and overseas. Locally, restaurants and individuals can partake in that bounty by purchasing fish and shellfish in the retail area of Ocracoke’s “fish house,” as it is known. This operation is helping to keep the island’s few commercial fishermen working and there’s been a renewed interest by the fishermen and the community to revitalize the business, said Stevie Wilson, vice-president of the board of directors. Photos, >>click to read<< 19:04

Bluefin Tuna Get It On off North Carolina

In November 1981, a fleet of briefcase-toting lobbyists, scientists, and political negotiators gathered in sunny Tenerife, Spain, to decide the fate of Atlantic bluefin tuna. Representing more than a dozen countries, including Canada, the United States, Spain, and Italy, the besuited men knew crisis loomed. Since the early 1970s, rising global demand for bluefin flesh had spurred fishing fleets—hailing from ports on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean—to kill untold thousands of the wide-ranging predator every year. Under this heavy fishing pressure, primarily driven by the Japanese appetite for sushi-grade tuna, the species careened toward collapse. During the meeting in Tenerife, the American delegation to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas proposed a disarmingly simple solution: they would draw a line down the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and split the bluefin into two separate stocks. >>click to read<< 08:19

Community rallies for NC shrimper after boat fire

A local shrimper in Beaufort lost everything in a boat fire last weekend. Now, the community is rallying behind him to help get him back on the water. The F/V Lady Logan was owned by Jerry Kellum for the last eight years. “When I started shrimping, I played in the creek when I was about 6 years old and I loved it,” said Jerry. He’s carried on the shrimping tradition of his family for over 50 years. Then, last Friday, his most prized possession and way of income was destroyed. “I got in about 10:30 from shrimping on the straits, and I left and the boat was fine. They call me about three o’clock, it was on fire and that was it from there,” said Kellum. >>click to read<< 11:47

Will small boats soon have to slow down off NC to protect North Atlantic Right Whales?

Vessel speed limits to help avoid fatal collisions between ships and one of the most endangered animals in the world that has fallen to around 350 individuals have gone back into effect off the U.S. Southeastern coast, including parts of North Carolina. The seasonal-management areas, or SMAs, limit the speed of most vessels 65 feet or longer to 10 knots, about 11.5 mph, in areas known to have heavy ship traffic that are also migratory routes or known calving grounds for the North Atlantic right whale. The go-slow zones, which run from November through April and have been in effect for more than a decade, extend about 20 nautical miles, or 23 miles, offshore and include areas around Morehead City and Beaufort and within 23 miles from shore between Wilmington and Brunswick, Ga. >>click to read<< 15:46

‘Catastrophic crisis’: Imported shrimp flood US market

Foreign shrimp imports are overwhelming the country’s inventories of shrimp and driving market prices for locally sourced shrimp to record lows, prompting widespread calls from elected officials and organizations throughout southern Atlantic and Gulf Coast states for the federal government to declare a fishery resource disaster. Governors of coastal states from North Carolina to Florida to Texas are being pressed to ask U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to determine a fishery resource disaster for the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery. In what one North Carolina coastal county’s board of commissioners refer to as an “unprecedented catastrophic crisis,” shrimpers are struggling to maintain operations because they’re making substantially less for their catch while paying historically high fuel prices and other inflation-driven costs. Shrimpers are also being forced to dock their freezer boats, or vessels with onboard freezers, because they can’t move their product in a market flooded with frozen shrimp from overseas. >>click to read<< 09:40