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CSMA Striped Bass- A Put and Too ManyTake Fishery

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Rick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2015 at 1:36pm
The link to this article was sent to me by a good friend who is long in the tooth in the fight for sustainable fisheries.  After reading it and given how the NCDMF is managing our CSMA stripped bass fishery, I thought a link would fit nicely here.

http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/12/12223/

If you're interested in the first part it is here-  http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/12/12194/

Rachel Carson and the Great Awakening

by Jared Lloyd

Last of two parts

BEAUFORT — In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin famously declared that it was “So convenient a thing to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.” Such was the driving ideology behind Manifest Destiny. The rise and fall of empires are hinged upon these words. As is the lengths to which we will go in order to rationalize our pursuit of money and profit.

America, in the 18th and 19th centuries, was seen as a ripened fruit ready to be plucked. With maps that still contained the phrase Terra incognito scribbled out across blanks spots, this was a land of seemingly inexhaustible resources. Great forests stretched further than a man could walk in a month’s time. Schools of fish leaped into boats on their own accord. Waterfowl along the coastal marshes blackened skies during the migration. And it was such images of America’s low hanging fruit that ultimately drove the colonization of and immigration to this New World.

Take a moment to consider this. If it was inexhaustible natural capital that was a driving force for the creation of America’s colonies, and the ambition to exploit and profit from such resources fueling the motivations of those who risked everything to travel oceans to reach these shores, then what does this say about the ideological seeds from which our culture and civilization grew?

Such notions are not lost to the primary sources of history. Upon returning home to his native France, Alexis Tocqueville compiled a book that today continues to stand as one of the most important historical accounts of pre-Civil War American society – Democracy in America. In discussing the general mindset of the people that he met on his travels in 1831, Tocqueville observed, “the American calls noble and praiseworthy that ambition which our medieval ancestors used to describe as slavish greed …” He explains that “This love of money has, therefore never been stigmatized in America and … it is held in high esteem.”

This was the ideological underpinnings from which natural resources were exploited and profits were made. And it was this backdrop from which the commodification of nature would become rationalized, institutionalized, protected by the fullest extent of the law and practiced with religious fervor. To commodify nature effectively turned everything from fish, fowl, forests and rivers into inanimate lifeless items for sale. To think of such things as resources or capital effectively shrink wraps and sticks a smiling label on such “products” and “goods,” to borrow a modern-day concept, forever severing their connection to a once living, breathing member of this world. Fish becomes seafood. Forests become lumber. And all of it is for sale in the land of milk and honey.

Then Along Came Rachel Carson

When Rachel Carson first came to Beaufort in the 1930s, it was on the heels of a paradigm shift in American culture and politics. The wanton destruction of 19th century had not been without its detractors. Emerson and Thoreau helped bring about an American romantic movement in the early part of that century, followed by artists such as the landscape painter Thomas Cole. In 1864 George Perkins Marsh published his groundbreaking book Man and Nature that for the first time rationally and scientifically detailed the effects of America’s fire sale of nature. And all of this would culminate at the turn of the 20th century in Theodore Roosevelt, a self-taught ornithologist and naturalist and then president of the United States, declaring that “The United States at this moment occupies a lamentable position as being perhaps the chief offender among civilized nations in permitting the destruction and pollution of nature.”

Rachel Carson arrived in Beaufort as Americans were beginning to awaken to the the natural beauty that surrounded them. Her writings would help us understand what we were losing. Photo: Library of Congress

Rachel Carson arrived in Beaufort as Americans were beginning to awaken to the the natural beauty that surrounded them. Her writings would help us understand what we were losing. Photo: Library of Congress

Of all the hidden worlds that Carson reveals to us in her first book, Under the Sea Wind, of all the species that she details the daily dramas of life and death, the American shad stands as an important example of how the whims of the market can have a ripple effect through entire ecosystems and human communities that depend on them. Ironically, nearly every species that she depicts in her books can stand in as an example of this, but it is the decline of shad that had the greatest impact on North Carolina.

In Under the Sea Wind, Carson paints a picture of an emblematic moonlit night in the month of May, where fisherman of various sorts fought both nature and each other for access to the annual spring run of roe-filled shad moving into the estuaries and up the rivers. Mobile gill netters argued bitterly with the workers of stationary pound nets for a piece of the action each night. The west bank of the North River in eastern Carteret County was chocked so tightly with impoundment nets that navigation itself was nearly impossible, and to set a gill net meant to sabotage other fisherman in the process.

Yet, what is not revealed in her story, is that these watermen were fighting for mere scraps left over from the great feast that was once the spring shad run in North Carolina.

The great spawning runs of fish across North America are by and large a thing of the past now remembered only in accounts from a time before markets got a hold of them. The one notable exception, of course, is salmon, and only in British Columbia and Alaska due to some of the most austere commercial fishing regulations on the continent. Whether we are speaking of American shad runs on the Roanoke River or Yellowstone cutthroat trout on the Snake River, the scenario was quite similar to the picture we have today of salmon in coastal Alaska with both man and beasts lining the riverbanks to reap the harvest of one of nature’s most extraordinary bounties.

The Founding Fish

carson-shad-landingsIn North Carolina, the American shad was the lifeblood of the land, driving both ecosystems and settlement patterns of natives and colonists alike. A hundred miles from the coast, the density of these shad runs meant that little more than a basket was needed for scooping fish from the rivers and packing barrels with a year’s supply of protein. This was a subsistence way of life that stretched all the way to the foot of that Appalachian Mountains where shad were once harvested as far west as Wilkesboro – a run of 450 miles upriver from the coast.

All of this changed when shad become a commodity, a marketable resource. More shad meant more money and in short order commercial fisherman began stretching seine nets across entire river mouths effectively cutting off entire shad runs to all points west. Whole ecosystems struggled to function. Upriver, poor farmers and wealthy plantation owners alike banded together to declare that shad was the “common rights of mankind” for which they were being deprived of by the greed of the few.

What had once been a free and natural bounty that most of the North Carolina colony had come to depend upon, was now a commodity for which most of the colony was forced to purchase. Some historians have argued that it was the destruction of the shad runs by the likes of commercial fishing operations along the coast that helped force a market economy on North Carolina, pushing the colony toward large-scale agriculture and dependency on the slave trade.

By the mid-1700s, the writing was already on the wall as to how all of this would ultimately play out. In 1764, North Carolina’s colonial assembly began the first attempts at putting reigns on the coastal fishery when they tried to ban the use of double seine nets by “avaricious persons.” Gov. William Tryon, the same governor that crushed the North Carolina Regulators, claimed this to be “destructive of the spirit of industry and commerce” and set about vetoing any bill that attempted to ban, limit or regulate the commercial seine netters. Coincidentally, the famed Tryon’s Palace sits along the Neuse River in New Bern, where many commercial seine netters hailed from.

Political positions wax and wane, and the natural lifespan of politicians necessitates change to some degree. In 1787, with the free-market evangelist Tryon out of the picture, North Carolina enacted a general statute authorizing counties to appoint commissioners for the purposes of inspecting rivers and streams to make sure that at least a quarter of the channels was left open for runs of fish during the spawning season.

The photograph of shad fisherman in Manteo was taken about 1900. Photo: UNC libraries

The photograph of shad fisherman in Manteo was taken about 1900. Photo: UNC libraries

Try as the state may however, such measures had already come half a century too late. Between over-harvesting at the coast and the mills damming up creeks and rivers inland, populations of American shad began to plummet. Half of the state had long turned away from its dependency on spring shad runs and even coastal markets were beginning to look to other species of fish such as mullet, given the sad state of shad populations.

By 1852, the Select Committee on Fisheries reported that North Carolina’s rivers which were once overflowing with shad in the springtime were now virtually empty. The fishery had been abandoned on most of the principle rivers. Only the Chowan River and Albemarle Sound could the commercial shad fisherman still be found, according to the Select Committee’s report “where seins are used of more than a mile in length and thousands of drag and set nets dot over the waters in every direction” – all desperately clinging to a fish and a way of life that they had come to destroy.

The story of North Carolina’s shad fishery is not unique. Similar stories played out along the Eastern Seaboard from Florida to the Canadian border. And it was the overfishing and complete collapse of certain fisheries like shad that would lead to the creation of the U.S. Commission on Fish and Fisheries in the Department of Commerce in 1871 for the purpose of investigating why fish stocks were declining. Shad populations, it was discovered, had declined 99 percent by then.

It is said that drastic times call for drastic measures and by the following year, a fortune was being spent on the construction of fish hatcheries in order to artificially stock rivers to keep the fishery alive. In 1873, North Carolina’s first hatch of some 45,000 shad were released in the Neuse River from the site of the new federal fish hatchery in New Bern, ironically near Tryon’s Palace.

Feds to the Rescue

Federal tax dollars went toward building shad hatcheries near the mouths of most of the major shad rivers in North Carolina. For about a decade even the state itself got into the business of trying to help rebuild the shad population, but gave up in 1885, washing its hands of responsibility for artificially stocking rivers.

Over the coming years, some 4 billion baby shad would be hatched and released in waters up and down the East Coast in a desperate attempt to save the species from oblivion. Yet even now, after 142 years of annually raising and releasing shad into the waters of North Carolina to compensate for the fire sale that once took place here, the shad population is “stable but low,” according to the latest assessment. North Carolina is one of the few states that still allows for a commercial fishery for shad and two hatcheries continue to operate for this reason – one in Edenton, the other in Watha in Pender County, which dump millions of dollars and shad into trying to keep this industry artificially alive.

Huge guns -- cannon, really -- were mounted on the bows of punt boats. One well-aimed shot could bring down hundreds of egrets, pelicans and other birds, whose plumage then decorated womens hats. Photo: N.C. Division of Archives and History

Huge guns — cannon, really — were mounted on the bows of punt boats. One well-aimed shot could bring down hundreds of egrets, pelicans and other birds, whose plumage then decorated women’s hats. Photo: N.C. Division of Archives and History

The U.S. Commission on Fish and Fisheries underwent a name change to the Bureau of Fisheries in 1903, which employed Carson when she arrived in Beaufort. And it was in Beaufort, or more specifically, Piver’s Island, that the second-largest bureau laboratory was located – established as the southern counterpart to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts and strategically located for its proximity to what was the most important commercial fisheries in the South.

Shad were not the only species that toed the line of extinction by the end of the 19th century. Nearly every single species described in Under the Sea Wind came a hair’s breadth away from never making it into Carson’s book for the simple fact that they almost didn’t make it to the century.

At the time that Carson arrived to the area, a team from the bureau in Beaufort was studying local population of diamondback terrapin, a species of turtle that Carson so elegantly described in her book. Throughout Colonial times and into 1800s, terrapins were seen as a nuisance species by commercial fisherman in North Carolina’s estuaries as they were so numerous that nets would oftentimes break under the weight of so many turtles. For this reason, an entire wagon load of these beautifully colored turtles of the salt marsh sold for a single dollar. By the 1920s, however, terrapins were so rare that a dozen of these turtles fetched $90 on the market in North Carolina and significantly more elsewhere. For a brief time, the bureau attempted to establish a diamondback terrapin hatchery in Beaufort, but by the end of World War I, the wild population was so low that the hatchery was closed and the idea abandoned.

Such destruction was not limited to life under the sea of course. Even the birds found themselves at the fate of the market. Looking back into the pages of history, we find that the first wave of outside interest along our coast was not for the fish but for the waterfowl. As Union soldiers filtered their way out of North Carolina and back north again after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, they took with them tales of inexhaustible numbers of ducks, geese and swans that blackened the skies over the sound country during fall migration.

Punt Guns and Ladies’ Hats

The first gunners who came south to confirm such stories were the wealthy captains of industry. Names like Carnegie, Mellon, Morgan and the Roosevelt family took great interest in the sport hunting opportunities along the barrier islands and sounds. But soon followed the market hunters, who employed the use of disastrous weapons called punt guns. These guns were little more than homemade cannons. Technically a shotgun, punt guns were often 10 feet long and so heavy that they had to be mounted to the front of the boats that gave them their names. These guns were loaded with enough shot that it was not uncommon to take out 50 – 100 birds in a single blast. Nets were strung between boats to scoop up the thousands of dead birds floating on the water’s surface at the end of a morning’s hunt.

By the time &amp;quot;Silent Spring&amp;quot; was published in 1962, Rachel Carson was a household name, as evidenced by this &amp;quot;Peanuts&amp;quot; cartoon at the time.

By the time “Silent Spring” was published in 1962, Rachel Carson was a household name, as evidenced by this “Peanuts” cartoon at the time.

The nuptial breeding plumes of egrets were once worth more than their weight in gold, leading to only a small handful of breeding colonies that survived the insatiable women’s fashion industry. Brown pelicans were shot and sold with such fervor that their entire eastern population had been reduced to one single breeding colony off the coast of Florida for which President Theodore Roosevelt protected as the first National Wildlife Refuge. Black skimmers, who figure prominently in Under the Sea Wind, to this day are still a threatened species in North Carolina thanks to egg harvesters that would annually raid every nest they could get their hands on – colony sizes were once officially measured in the number of bushels of eggs that it contained.

From red wolves to red-cockaded woodpeckers, if it were not for a paradigm shift in America around the early 20th century, so much of the incredible diversity of this state and nation would be little more than sketches and watercolor paintings in obscure notebooks of 19th century naturalists.

This was the world in which Rachel Carson began her nature writing career within – one where stories like those detailed in the report from the first expedition to Roanoke describing natives stopping to fill multiple canoes with fish in a matter of half an hour to offer as gifts to the English ships were now a thing of the past. By the 1930s these stories were just that – stories. Such depictions were pure fiction, abstract words and concepts scribbled upon paper documenting a fantastical world of plenty that could only be dreamed of. But this was also a world in which the words of John Muir had been taken to heart, where giants like Teddy Roosevelt could come to power and bring about sweeping political change toward the natural world.

Rachel Carson waded the shallows around Bird Shoal when America’s culture had just pass through a great crossroads. Our society had been left with a decision to make at the outset of the 20th century: Would we allow for species such as the American shad, great egrets, diamondback terrapin, and black skimmers to slip over the edge of oblivion? Was this the legacy that we wanted to leave for future generations – a world devoid of that which both our nation and cultural identity had been built upon? Thankfully, the collective voice of America had cried, “No.”

Rachel Carson began her career as an author allowing her creative genius to drift across the salty waters of Back Sound. The words she set down in books like Under the Sea Wind revealed to the nation a world unseen, largely unstudied, as unknown as outer space, yet as familiar as the old oak tree in the front yard. She would end her career by giving teeth to a movement that stood to shake the very foundation of America’s industry to its core. A smallish, soft-spoken woman, who never married, cared for her aging mother and orphaned niece, who wrote in first person about sanderlings and mackerel, who was entranced by the sea and the natural world, who would be labeled a communist operative in the age of McCarthyism for writing her book Silent Spring, who would be investigated by the FBI, stalked by men in dark suits hired by chemical corporations, and die of cancer – that plague of the 20th century she so passionately warned about. This was Rachel Carson. And her life and legacy lives on in the descendants of black skimmers, ospreys, and diamondback terrapins of North Carolina that she would bring to literary life in Under the Sea Wind.






Edited by Rick - 23 December 2015 at 1:42pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote TomM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2015 at 1:56pm
And after all these years American shad are still netted after being hatchery raised and released as far upriver as Kerr lake. Will the lesson ever be learned. Nice article.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BaitWaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2015 at 3:59pm
RE - shad: Grew up eating white shad in the spring at my grandparents in SC.  And my Dad has vivid memories of his Dad/my Grandfather walking a number of miles to fish a hoopnet in the Black River (SC).  Fresh fish was a welcomed change during the Depression from a winter of eating nothing but collards, salt pork, sweet potatoes and yardbird.
 
In SC, both a commercial and recreational gill net fishery:
http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/shad/ 

But "American shad native to rivers south of the Cape Fear River die after spawning, while some shad in rivers north of the Cape Fear survive to spawn again the following year." 
http://www.fws.gov/raleigh/pdfs/sis/american_shad_profile.pdf

Commercial shad fishing is still permitted Georgia:
http://www.georgiawildlife.com/sites/default/files/uploads/wildlife/fishing/pdfs/regulations/ShadRule2014.pdf


Virginia appears to be much more restrictive and appear to be phasing it out:
http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/regulations/fr530.shtm


No commercial shad harvest in Florida since 2000.

NJ has a single family that is permitted gill net commercial harvest of shad for a festival: 
http://www.njskylands.com/odfishsha

But back on topic, if the commercial harvest can be definitively shown to be almost exclusively of stocked fish (any fish) primarily stocked for the the benefit for recreational fishing, hard to make a case for continued commercial harvest on these fish.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Crabby Captain John Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2015 at 3:59pm
It seems it would be more efficient to simply expand the hatcheries and grow the shad to size~~ eliminate putting them in the ocean at all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BaitWaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2015 at 4:03pm
Originally posted by Crabby Captain John Crabby Captain John wrote:

It seems it would be more efficient to simply expand the hatcheries and grow the shad to size~~ eliminate putting them in the ocean at all.

Biology of the species (shad) makes this impractical/expensive.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Chuck Laughridge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2015 at 4:16pm
So Bernie, you're advocating closing the Cape Fear, Neuse/Trent and Tar/Pamlico to commercial fishing for striped bass/rockfish because almost 100% of those fish are stocked based on both otolith  studies and the newer DNA data? 

And yes, I know the rock are a by-catch fishery in, primarily the shad (American & Hickory) fishery, and are worth way more than the shad which are the target species.

Costs about $100,000.00 per river system to stock these phase 2 (5/7 inch fingerlings) and I think the shad fishery in those three river systems is somewhere in the 30/40 thousand dollar range.

Good Fishing & Merry Christmas!!!


Edited by Chuck Laughridge - 23 December 2015 at 4:17pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BaitWaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2015 at 4:43pm
IF my qualifiers "definitively", "exclusively" and "primarily" are met, hard to argue against.  Big smile

Hope to see you on the water soon.  Heading down after Christmas for ~ week.  Maybe the weather will be kind to me for a change.

"Good Fishing & Merry Christmas!!!"


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chuck Laughridge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2015 at 10:03pm
Warm up your flyrod and we'll catch some specks.

Good Fishing & Merry Christmas!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote todobien Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 December 2015 at 11:49pm
Hard to prove "definitively" to some folks. The big year class or two in the A.R. stock will be straYing down and mixing with other stocks on the nonspawning grounds so if sample lower neuse or Pam or Pam sound it will complicate data to doubting Thomas' or those looking for a way to hide the reslity

Chuck you are forgetting those fish caught as bycatch in smaller mesh. There are a bunch of rock in Manns Harbor that are gonna be just the right size to stick in 3.5 inch soon...regulatory discards.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chuck Laughridge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 December 2015 at 6:15am
Haven't forgotten those rock at all, my younger brother, as trifling as he is, keeps me posted almost daily.  Don't like the way it is managed but it is under an FMP that works on the "stop light" approach and is done in conjunction with NCWRC.

Good Fishing!!!  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cnaff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 December 2015 at 8:49am
It's managed such that hook and liners, and castnetters have a ball. No observable enforcement to dissuade creative use of the stripers, but even less discernment upon the wipers that followed stockers from guess where. Oh, I got checked by a land based unit when I ran my buddy to shore to clear fly line from the tromo. We looked suspicious, compared to business as usual going on out by the bridge.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote todobien Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 December 2015 at 10:48am
Does that stoplight apply as they to the southard? Kind of like those hybirds strayed up from the tarpam
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote CapRandy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 December 2015 at 6:09pm
All the rules and restrictions in the world will not work unless you honor them or enforce them.As far as a honest count on takes,well you can forget that.
Murder is killing but all killing is not murder
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote cnaff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 December 2015 at 10:32am
The thing is Cap, I think we can establish that there are human beings who will behave honorably in any number of venues. What we so depressingly chronicle on this board, is that North Carolina marine resources are historically and relentlessly damaged by a class of people who inform us it is their birthright to do so. A major part of this fact is that the state has enabled and supported these efforts to delapidate our resources; the state obfuscates the facts surrounding the doings of such operators, protects them and refuses to recognize the rights of other citizens to these resources, tacitly, by the state's overt behavior; the state uses its appointed officials to threaten citizens who attempt to report violations, thwart citizens who participate in meetings to find alternatives to such primitive disregard for responsible allocation and conservation of the resource, allowing threats and implied threats to be delivered AT OFFICIAL COUNCIL meetings; and further, law enforcement officers are integral to this campaign of intimidation and neglect because they tacitly communicate by their actions that any average citizen is more likely to die of old age before the state summons up the brains to protect the resource, and even more distant is the day the state of north carolina will summon the moral rectitude to ameliorate its assault on its citizens through willful, criminal bungling of conservation policy, while assisting in blaming the victims of resource depletion by the very perpetrators who take the resources, as if they are the true and rightful owners of all the waters they see. They haven't stopped some of us in noticing their game, and people like Rick deserve our attention and gratitude for so ably making the point that this is a tangible continuum of state supported corruption, writ large and lasting for the past 100 years and more. Mere citizens are, thankfully, a group one can count upon for far better moral and ethical behavior and understanding than any sized group of state officials, save maybe, the highway patrol.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote BrackishWater Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 January 2016 at 9:32pm
Great article and another history lesson...those that choose to ignore the lessons of their past are doomed to repeat them.

Also refreshing to hear the Coastal Federation speak on behalf of our coastal fisheries. They have long been silent on the subject.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 February 2016 at 9:15pm
Another year of commercials killing as much as 85% of our CSMA stocked fish starts. Life is just grand under current management!

http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamation-ff-10-2016

Edited by Rick - 24 February 2016 at 9:18pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stump1187 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 February 2016 at 10:21am
Status Quo keeps chugging along. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 23Mako Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 February 2016 at 10:21am
Par for the course: 

The 22 inch to 27 inch total length no possession slot limit for striped bass established in N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03Q .0107 does not apply to commercial fishing operations in Joint Fishing Waters.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kshivar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 February 2016 at 10:24am
It is really breathtakingly ridiculous but sadly the norm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Stump1187 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 February 2016 at 10:38am
At this point, isn't the Striper commercial fishery liken to welfare? I mean it comes out of our pockets to stock the fish...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote todobien Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 February 2016 at 11:49am
Maybe we should request that NCWRC use the fish raised using moneys from rec licenses and excise tax on fishing equipment etc put any striped bass being stocked in the Neuse into Falls Lake and in the Tar into Rocky Mt reservoir. Some will stay in the lakes and some will move downstream. At least those in the lakes will have a chance to get some size to them and survive. The other alternative would be to just stop stocking them and use that money to raise some other kind of fish. Maybe get a big water chilling system for the hatcheries and raise mountain trout to stock in piedmont and upper coastal plain waters in the winter. Or raise the stripers to eating size and allow holders of rec license to stop by and pick them up for free for dinner vs giving free money to the netters.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Stump1187 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 February 2016 at 12:06pm
Originally posted by todobien todobien wrote:

Maybe we should request that NCWRC use the fish raised using moneys from rec licenses and excise tax on fishing equipment etc put any striped bass being stocked in the Neuse into Falls Lake and in the Tar into Rocky Mt reservoir. Some will stay in the lakes and some will move downstream. At least those in the lakes will have a chance to get some size to them and survive. The other alternative would be to just stop stocking them and use that money to raise some other kind of fish. Maybe get a big water chilling system for the hatcheries and raise mountain trout to stock in piedmont and upper coastal plain waters in the winter. Or raise the stripers to eating size and allow holders of rec license to stop by and pick them up for free for dinner vs giving free money to the netters.

No.

They should be used to stimulate the economy by bringing in $$ from rec anglers, just like the trout hatcheries in the western part of the state. The way it is now, it is being used to raise Stripers to pad the pockets of commercial fishermen, a supplement or welfare if you will. They then take this resource and sell it for a few bucks or less on the pound. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote todobien Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 February 2016 at 12:41pm
I agree with what should be happening. Well actually more of the opinion they should be used to build up the population such that they no longer even need to be stocked. This would fit in with your statement about stimulating the economy by rec anglers. If things aren't going to change I would rather not see my license/excise tax money being used to raise fish to be caught and sold for less than it even costs to raise them.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote todobien Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 February 2016 at 12:43pm
With the couple of big year classes in the Roanoke Albemarle system lots of those fish will be roaming down into the Pamlico so the boys ought to have good income this spring.    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 February 2016 at 1:14pm
My public comments at last week's MFC meeting in Wrightsville Beach.

Feb. 18th, MFC Meeting Public Comment

Good Morning.

Today, I’d like to discuss Central Southern Management Area striped bass.  Management of striped bass within the CSMA is the sole responsibility of the MFC and the WRC.

Striped Bass in the CSMA are considered a stock of concern by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.  Due to heightened concern in the Cape Fear River and its tributaries, a no commercial harvest regulation was established starting on July 1, 2008, setting precedence.

Today there is compelling data that shows you should close the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers along with their tributaries to commercial fishing.

The CSMA is a hatchery origin put and take fishery.  Parentage Based Tagging shows that 95% of the Neuse River stock is of hatchery origin.  Tag-return data indicates that the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers are essentially closed systems.

Federal money through excise tax on sport fishing gear under the Dingell-Johnson Act is paying for the stocking of CSMA striped bass.  It appears that the WRC is using those dollars as intended and the MFC is converting at least 2/3 of the public benefit from striped bass restoration to commercial fishing interests in violation of federal law.

It is prohibited to use Dingell-Johnson funds for the primary purpose of producing income.  Data shows that over the last ten years commercial fishermen landed 70% of the CSMA striped bass with recreational anglers landing 30%.

Since 1994 the Neuse and Tar River systems have experienced an annual mortality of 40% to 70%.  The reported harvest and discard from the recreational creel survey, combined with the commercial trip ticket data do not approach the level that is required to explain that level of mortality.  Data suggest that gill net mortality is being significantly under reported on trip tickets.  When cryptic mortality is included, the commercial sector could easily be responsible for 85% or more of all CSMA striped bass mortality.

Present management of this important fishery is preventing re-establishing a sustainable spawning stock biomass, which is making recovery impossible.  Managing the fishery for predominately commercial harvest is placing the whole stocking program in jeopardy. 

I ask that you take action, it is within your authority to immediately close this fishery to commercial fishing in its entirety or in parts that you deem fit. 

Please do so, sooner rather than later.  Later may be too late and forever. 

Ending the stocking program would allow those fingerlings to find a permanent home somewhere else and NC risks not being able to re-establish an adequate or economical stocking source in the future.




Edited by Rick - 25 February 2016 at 1:39pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cnaff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 February 2016 at 4:31pm
Excellent presentation , Rick. I think the situation points toward dmf having a legal obligation to rectify this, and if they will not, it constitutes culpability ,by the law, in allowing this commercial harvest to take place. How is it that in a state so rife with capable lawyers, no controlling legal authority asserts itself in such clear cut cases? I mean, this is EXACTLY the scenario the LAW was intended to forfend. I would think the AG has considerable onus upon himself to seek relief for the citizens of the state from this state of affairs. Instead we're damned if we recognize the theft, and a blithering fool, if we think state personnel will seek anything like compliance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Crabby Captain John Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 February 2016 at 6:39pm
Originally posted by Stump1187 Stump1187 wrote:


No.
They should be used to stimulate the economy by bringing in $$ from rec anglers, just like the trout hatcheries in the western part of the state. The way it is now, it is being used to raise Stripers to pad the pockets of commercial fishermen, a supplement or welfare if you will. They then take this resource and sell it for a few bucks or less on the pound. 
 
It is a form of welfare ~ another entitlement for the commercial industry. At some point the feds will shut off the $$$ and recs get hit again. At times I think it would be worth it if the comms had none to catch and the fish houses only sold what they got from outside NC.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 April 2016 at 9:31am
Another year on the Neuse and Pamlico of "legal" harvest is over.  It started on March 1 via Proclamation FF-10-2016 and ended with the proclamation below.

Commercials land 70% of these fish in which 90%-plus are coming from stocking.  It is estimated that they are killing 85%-plus of the fish when unreported harvest/catch is included.

This must be addressed before the 2017 season opens.

Please get involved.  Your talking points are above, just read the thread.



FF-15-2016

PROCLAMATION

RE: STRIPED BASS SEASON - CENTRAL SOUTHERN MANAGEMENT AREA (CSMA) COMMERCIAL FISHING OPERATIONS - INTERNAL COASTAL WATERS OF CARTERET, CRAVEN, BEAUFORT, AND PAMLICO COUNTIES, PUNGO RIVER, WEST BAY, PAMLICO SOUND


Jim Kelley, Acting Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at 12:01 A.M., Monday, March 21, 2016, the striped bass season WILL CLOSE in the areas described below for COMMERCIAL FISHING OPERATIONS.

I. AREA DESCRIPTION

A. Pamlico and Pungo rivers and their joint and coastal water tributaries west of a line beginning at a point on the north shore 35° 22.3622’N - 76° 28.2032’W (Roos Point) running southerly through Marker #1 to a point on the south shore 35° 18.5906’N - 76° 28.9530’W (Pamlico Point).

B. Jones Bay/Bay River - west of a line at Sow Island Point at 35° 13.0166’N - 76° 29.7000'W, running southwesterly to a point at Bay Point at 35° 11.0833'N - 76° 31.5666'W, then running southerly to Maw Point at 35° 9.0333’N - 76° 32.1666'W.

C. Neuse River - west of a line beginning at Maw Point at 35°9.0333'N - 76° 32.1666’W, running southeasterly to Point of Marsh at 35° 04.5500'N - 76° 28.2333’W.

D. West Bay- south of a line beginning at a point at 35° 03.5166’N - 76° 26.1333’W, running southeasterly to a point at 35° 02.1833'N - 76° 21.7500'W.

E. Pamlico Sound – south of a line from Roanoke Marshes Point 35° 48.3693’N - 75° 43.7232’W; to the north point of Eagle Nest Bay 35° 44.1710’N – 75° 31.0520'W (southern boundary of the Albemarle Sound Management Area) to the boundaries at the mouths of all the rivers described in I.A. - I.D. and north of a line from Camp Point at 35° 00.0833’N - 76° 14.8000’W, through Wainwright Island running southeasterly to a point on Core Banks at 34° 58.7853’N - 76° 09.8922’W.

II. SEASON
No person may take, possess, transport, buy, sell or offer for sale striped bass from the area defined above, except dealers will have until March 28, 2016 to sell, offer for sale, transport, or have in possession unfrozen striped bass taken in this fishery prior to the closure.

III. GENERAL INFORMATION

A. This proclamation is issued under the authority of N.C.G.S. 113-170.4; 113-170.5; 113-182; 113-221.1; 143B 289.52; and N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rules 15A NCAC 03H .0103, 03M .0202, and 03O .0500 et seq.

B. It is unlawful to violate the provisions of any proclamation issued by the Fisheries Director under his delegated authority pursuant to N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03H .0103.

C. The annual allotment of the Central/Southern Management Area quota (25,000 pounds) for striped bass has been reached. The intent of this proclamation is to equitably distribute the quota established by the North Carolina Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan.

D. The striped bass Dealer Permit validated for the Central Area is no longer valid upon this closure. Permittees must submit required reporting logs (where such reports have not been faxed) to the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Elizabeth City office by March 26, 2016.

E. Contact N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 for more information or visit the division website at http://ncmarinefisheries.net

F. In accordance with N.C. General Statute 113-221.1(c) All persons who may be affected by proclamations issued by the Fisheries Director are under a duty to keep themselves informed of current proclamations.

G. This proclamation supersedes Proclamation FF-10-2016, dated February 24, 2016. It closes the CSMA commercial striped bass fishery.

March 18, 2016
12:30 P.M.
FF-15-2016

Edited by Rick - 04 April 2016 at 9:32am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 April 2016 at 11:40am
A few talking points summarized-

  • CSMA is the Central Southern Management Area that covers the area from Southern Roanoke Island to the South Carolina state line.  
  • Management of striped bass within the CSMA is the sole responsibility of the NCMFC and the NCWRC.  
  • Striped Bass in the CSMA are considered a stock of concern by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries. 
  • Due to heightened concern in the Cape Fear River and its tributaries, a harvest moratorium was established starting on July 1, 2008, setting precedence for closures.
  • The Pamlico/Tar River, the Neuse River and the Pamlico Sound has a 25,000 pound annual commercial harvest quota.  This year (2016) commercial harvest opened on March 1st and closed on March 21st with the quota filled.
  • The NCWRC has asked the NCDMF to consider an early review of the scheduled 2018 FMP Amendment.  It will take two years for the amendment process, which means updated management goals will not have an effective date until 2020, which credible researchers say will be too late to save this fishery.  NCDMF at this point is sticking to the schedule.
  • Since 1994 the Neuse and Tar River systems have experienced an annual reported mortality of 40% to 70%.  The reported harvest and discard from the recreational creel survey, combined with the commercial trip ticket data do not approach the level that is required to explain that level of mortality.  Data suggest that gill net mortality is being significantly under reported on trip tickets.  When cryptic mortality is included, the commercial sector could easily be responsible for 85% or more of all CSMA striped bass mortality.
  • There is zero confidence in the ability or will of the NCDMF to address this issue in a timely and honest manner.
  • The CSMA fishery is in immediate danger of collapse.  This fishery should be closed to commercial harvest under emergency powers or at minimum under supplement authority.
  • It is currently estimated by biologists in both academia, those currently employed by and retired from the NCWRC and within the USFWS that if immediate action isn't taken that the opportunity to re-establish a wild spawning stock will be lost forever. 
  • Current research through otolith micro-chemistry and Parentage Based Tagging (PBT) shows that less than a 7% wild population exists in the Neuse River system.  There are similar indications for the the Tar/Pamlico River.  Continuing with current management will result in all wild fish being extirpated from the Neuse River by 2020.
  • Ninety-three percent (93%) of all commercial harvested Neuse River fish are from stocked origin coming from the USFWS Edenton Hatchery paid for using tax dollars. 
  • Reported commercial landings for the CSMA show that the commercial sector lands 70% of all fish.  NCWRC data shows that the commercial sector may be killing as much as 85% due to unreported landings and discards in other gill net fisheries.
  • Average Commercial Landings and Value 2005-2014 – 23,623 lbs. / $56,297   (70% of landings for the ten year period.)
  • 2014 Commercial Landings and Value 25,085 lbs. / $68,607
  • Average Recreational Landings 2005-2014 – 10,275 lbs.,  (30% of landings for the ten year period.)
  • 2014 Recreational Landings – 13,371 lbs.
  • Commercial average annual landing value for the 2005-2014 ten year period is $56,297 or $2.38 per pound.
  • Estimated cost is $2.30 per fingerling to stock the Neuse and Pamlico/Tar River systems. 
  • For the last ten years (2005-2014) annual stockings have averaged 239,491 Phase 1 fingerlings and 173,957 Phase 2 fingerlings combined in the Neuse and Tar/Pamlico River systems at an estimated annual cost of about $600,000 dollars.
  • We are spending over a half of a million dollars per year trying to recover this important fishery and then allowing commercial fishermen to kill any chance of that recovery for less than $60,000 of harvest income.
  • Present management of this important fishery is preventing re-establishing a sustainable spawning stock biomass, which is making recovery impossible. 
  • Managing the fishery for predominately commercial harvest is placing the whole stocking program in jeopardy. 
  • The Neuse River and its tributaries should be closed to all gill netting at the Minnesott Beach Ferry in order to control significant mortality from other gill net fisheries.


Edited by Rick - 07 April 2016 at 10:23am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stump1187 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 April 2016 at 1:20pm
Biggest take away??

This is welfare for Commercial Fishermen. 
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