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Defining a Commercial Fisherman-Facts and Lies

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    Posted: 11 January 2018 at 6:35pm

Let's look at the facts!

Sammy Corbett is both a commercial fisherman and a dealer, and the Chairman of the MFC.  The issue of defining a commercial fisherman was voted on in 2016 on a motion made by Commissioner Alison Willis, who is also a commercial fisherwoman and a dealer. 

 

“Motion by Alison Willis for the chairman of the Marine Fisheries Commission to convene a sub-committee consisting of no less than four commissioners to discuss the issues associated with defining commercial fishermen. The committee should address the scope of the questions and issues, any necessary actions or recommendations the committee feels should be made to the legislature. In addition, the Division of Marine Fisheries should deliver a summary paper to the Marine Fisheries Commission at its November 2016 meeting which discusses, addresses and outlines what other states have done to address defining a commercial fisherman (for example: Virginia, Maryland, Alaska and any New England states). Second by Mike Wicker. Motion passes 7-1.”  MFC Business Meeting- February 2016.

 

If you were there you heard Commissioner Willis preface her motion by stating the importance of properly defining a commercial fisherman and saying-  “I hope my house doesn’t get burned down.”

 

Corbett and Willis represent commercial fishing interests on the Commission as does Janet Rose.  The 2016 vote shows that the commercial fishing commissioners wished to address defining a commercial fisherman by a 2 to 1 margin.  The 8 sitting members of the commission, with one vacant seat, voted 7 to 1 to address the issue.  Commissioner Rose, who represents the Wanchese area, was the lone vote against the motion.

 

Bill Hitchcock in his comments linked above inaccurately addresses a motion made at the November 2017 MFC meeting that carried 7-1 with Corbett and Willis voting for the motion. 

 

“Motion by Chuck Laughridge to ask the chairman to appoint a committee of commission members to develop a definition of a commercial fisherman, with staff support from the Division of Marine Fisheries, to bring an update back to the commission at its February 2018 meeting. Second by Mike Wicker. Motion carries 7-1.”

 

Again, Corbett and Willis represent commercial fishing interests on the Commission as does Janet Rose.  The 2017 vote shows that the commercial fishing commissioners wish to again address defining a commercial fisherman by a 2 to 1 margin.  The 8 sitting members of the commission, with one seat vacant, voted 7 to 1 to address the issue.  Again, Commissioner Rose, who represents the Wanchese area, was the lone vote against the motion.

 

Not only is it inaccurate to say this issue does not have the support of the commercial fishing sector and industry, it’s a flat out false statement.

 

Bill Hitchcock knows it, as does Jerry Schill who is already mailing the General Assembly his version of the "facts".

 

Below are excerpts from Hitchcock’s letter-

Clearly what is happening here is not a matter of wanting to define what a commercial fishermen is, but rather an ongoing attempt to redefine what a commercial fishermen is. But why? And to redefine them as what?

For simple clarity it’s best to look at who wants a redefinition and what it would accomplish. The commercial fishing families of North Carolina have not advocated for the redefinition of a commercial fishermen nor have our state legislators requested it. It has only come from those who pledge allegiance to organizations like the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and their causes such as banning and/or restricting our local fishermen. The same crowd that wants to ban gillnets and remove our shrimp trawlers from inside waters and push them offshore.

Commissioner Chuck Laughridge, who holds recreational seat on the MFC is a fund raiser and unregistered lobbyist for the CCA. (For those who may challenge Laughridge’s lobbyist status may want to speak with the countless legislators, fisheries managers and industry heads that he has so lobbied).

And it’s fair to say that all attempts to redefine what a commercial fisherman is, have been championed by a CCA member or at least by folks of similar desires. And what exactly are those desires? End commercial fishing. In the process of achieving their end goal they will ban, restrict, prohibit and deny our commercial fishing families whenever and where ever possible.

This is not a matter of defining what a commercial fisherman is. This is nothing more than a desire to redefine what a commercial fisherman is, with the purpose to reduce and restrict the licenses that are issued our NC commercial fishing families. This, in turn, will reduce and restrict the public’s access to fresh, locally caught North Carolina seafood.

The NC General Assembly 2018 session convened today, January 11, 2018.

 

The lies flowing from the North Carolina Fisheries Association (NCFA) and Jerry Schill have already started! (Jerry's letter will be posted in this thread later today.)

 

Jerry “The Shill” Schill has been hawking his spin, again, hoping to entice further squandering of NC’s coastal public trust resources for the benefit of a handful of large fish dealers.

 

Come on Raleigh!!!! 


You are smart ladies and gentlemen.  It will not take much wading through Jerry’s smelly mess to understand the issues, a ½-million conservation minded voters expect no less.


We have the most balanced Marine Fisheries Commission since inception of the Fisheries Reform Act in 1997.  We have newly appointed Director Murphey at the helm of the DMF.  The Governor has a Marine Fisheries Policy Paper outlining his vision of sustainable management.  Raleigh needs to allow the process to work for it has been sorely broken for twenty years.


The NC General Assembly can help by listening to the MFC and less to a paid lobbyist of those fishing for profit on a free and dwindling public trust resource. 


Let’s look at the real facts, which you should be sharing with all members of the NCGA.

 

·         60% of Standard Commercial Fishing Licenses report ZERO landings under the mandatory trip ticket program.

·         A 2015 NCDMF report found that 33% of the licenses not reporting landings are actively fishing with commercial gear or harvesting in commercial quantities.

·         More than 70% of all SCFL transfers are an exception to the rules established under FRA-97.

·         Resident SCFL licenses are being assigned to non-resident commercial fishermen in violation of statute that prohibits dual residency.

·         Loss of control of the trip ticket program creates inaccurate harvest statistics negatively impacting FMP management goals.

·         Our important coastal resources must be managed by professionals with interest in a long-term sustainable harvest, not short-term personal profit at any cost to the resource.

 

 



Edited by Rick - 12 January 2018 at 9:55am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2018 at 7:37pm
...oh, while I'm on a roll, let's talk about public involvement in the process that so many of the "internet brain trusts" are concerned about. 

Today's meeting didn't allow public comment.  Today's meeting was held in the public eye.  The results of today's meeting immediately became public knowledge.  Anyone and everyone has the opportunity to ponder today's motions and develop public comment to be presented before the full commission in February.

Let's look at how the "commercial sector" conducts business. 

When discussing funding of the observer program, division staff did so with Jerry Schill (a paid lobbyist) behind closed doors, with no MFC involvement and no public eye present.  The results of that meeting were willfully kept from the public to the extent that issuance of the MFC briefing book was delayed for the meeting in which the matter was to be presented and voted on.  The clear intent was to prevent public awareness of the issue in order to prevent public comment.

Where was the public's interest in developing these measures for a public trust fishery?

Does John Q Public (represented by non-commercial seats on the MFC) not have an interest in developing measures that allow commercial fishermen to "take" (kill) endangered species while harvesting declining and depleted species from our public trust waters? 

Evidence is below with info redacted to protect my source.

From:
Sent: XXXXXX, XXXXX X, 2014 XX:XX PM
To:
Subject:

Here is a very rough draft.  Jerry’s email is  jerry.schill@ncfish.org      Items in red were discussed, but were not finalized. 

 

As discussed this morning in our meeting, the following is proposed from the commercial fishing industry to the Division of Marine Fisheries to help fund the at-sea observer program.  It is be presented as an industry proposal to the Marine Fisheries Commission next week. This is in addition to the 25% commercial license fee increase that goes into effect this upcoming fiscal year (i.e., licenses that are effective July 1, 2014 for the 2015 fiscal year).

 

1.       Implement another 25% increase to some commercial license fees as proposed by Adam Tyler (i.e., SCFL, RSCFL, Land or Sell, Fish Dealer, RCGL and Shellfish).  This extra 25% is to be earmarked to the observer program.

·         This will take legislative action and will not be available until fiscal year 2016 (i.e., licenses that are effective on July 1, 2015).

·         In the meantime, the division will request that it be allowed to continue to use any unspent money for the $1.1 million one-time appropriations next fiscal year.

·         Need to consider if the CFVR should be added to this list.

2.       Implement a gill net permit to cover fishermen who fish gill nets covered by the Incidental Take Permit (i.e., anchored gill nets, but not runaround, strike, drift nets, etc.).  All fishermen fishing these nets must obtain this permit, including RCGL gill net fishermen.

·         Have this available for $0 fee starting in the fall fishing season this year (i.e., start issuing in August to cover the rest of the fiscal year).

·         This covers the provision in the Incidental Take Permit on a ‘certificate of inclusion’.

·         The permit will have specific conditions and failure to meet these conditions will allow the division to suspend or revoke the permit.  Types of items to be included that may warrant a suspension or revocation include (these will be worked out more later):

o   Intentional failure to carry an observer.

o   Setting nets outside the prescribed time period.

o   Failure to report interactions.

o   etc.

·         Consider pursuing legislation to allow for issuing a civil penalty for violating conditions of the permit that warrant a suspension or revocation.   NCFA will need to determine if they want to request this or not.

3.       After a year of the new permit, determine if a fee should associated with this permit.  If so, make a recommendation up to $100 for the permit.

4.       Drop, at this time, pursuing requesting the commission to charge fees for any other type of permit (i.e., now fees for permits; leave as $0 right now).

5.       License to Land Flounder – Consider setting the fee for the License to Land Flounder - $100 for resident and $250 for non-resident  -- I was unsure if we came to a consensus on this one.

6.       If these increases do not meet our funding needs, then consider a lower level of Marine Patrol observations.

7.       The priority for new fees are for meeting the obligations of the Incidental Take Permit, and secondary to potentially assisting with the shrimp bycatch characterization study.  Other studies and potential use of observers will be discussed with commercial fishery stakeholders to build consensus on how funds and fisheries being observed.

 

 

 

Dee Lupton

Deputy Director

NC Division of Marine Fisheries

PO Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557-0769

(252)808-8010 - Telephone

dee.lupton@ncdenr.gov

 

Email correspondence to and from this address is subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties unless the content is exempt by statute or other regulation.





Edited by Rick - 12 January 2018 at 9:56am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TomM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2018 at 8:10pm
That kind of stuff is ridiculous. Another reason to reorder the DMF and move it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Glacierbaze Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2018 at 10:10pm
"...............................It has only come from those who pledge allegiance to organizations like the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and their causes such as banning and/or restricting our local fishermen. The same crowd that wants to ban gillnets and remove our shrimp trawlers from inside waters and push them offshore.

Commissioner Chuck Laughridge, who holds recreational seat on the MFC is a fund raiser and unregistered lobbyist for the CCA. (For those who may challenge Laughridge’s lobbyist status may want to speak with the countless legislators, fisheries managers and industry heads that he has so lobbied)..............................................

So what do folks like Laughridge and adherents to the CCA get out of redefining what a commercial fisherman is? In their mind it increases their opportunity to catch more fish recreationally for themselves. Simply put, they are trying to eliminate what they perceive to be their competition..........."

Is this the same Bill Hitchcock who lists, "Life Member of the Coastal Conservation Association", as part of his resume, where he refers to it as one of, "these accomplishments and accolades Bill Hitchcock has attained"? 



Edited by Glacierbaze - 11 January 2018 at 10:14pm
"You can never elevate your own character by stepping on someone else's."

"Never argue with a man who loves the sound of his own voice."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 4:42am
One and the same.

Edited by Rick - 12 January 2018 at 2:19pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 4:45am
From: Jerry Schill [mailto:jerryschill@ncfish.org]
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 6:21 AM
To: Rep. Tim Moore
Subject: Fisheries!


Mr. Speaker and Members of the House:

I trust that you return to Raleigh after a great holiday season with friends and family!

There are some folks that believe the General Assembly should bring up H-867 over the next few days. While I realize the chances of that happening are very slim, I must be vigilant by renewing our staunch opposition to the so-called “Coastal Fisheries Conservation” bill.

As noted many times during the formal and informal discussions about this and other fisheries legislation, the North Carolina Fisheries Association believes these issues should be vetted through a reinstated “Joint Legislative Commission on Seafood & Aquaculture”. It worked before to reduce the acrimony prior to the debates in Senate and House Committees, and can do so again. By meeting between sessions of the General Assembly, this process enables thorough vetting of these contentious fisheries issues with stakeholders.

The Division of Marine Fisheries has a new Director with the recent announcement that Steve Murphey will now be in that position. We applaud that decision and believe it’s an opening for a “new day” in fisheries management. Whether it’s a serious attempt to regain some fairness in the process will be shown when Governor Cooper announces his long overdue appointments to the Marine Fisheries Commission.

Another issue that may be headed your way as it is currently on the agenda of the Marine Fisheries Commission is the definition of a commercial fisherman. Despite the overwhelming opinions of commercial fishermen that favor the current definition, a vocal minority keeps pushing an effort to further curtail the numbers of commercial fishing licenses in North Carolina. This one issue has been debated often over the years with the result always being to leave it alone.

Again, further evidence of a need for a “Joint Legislative Commission on Seafood & Aquaculture”.

Sorry that I can’t be in Raleigh this week as we have several appointments in Washington, DC to discuss some very important federal issues.

God bless,

Jerry Schill
Director of Government Relations
North Carolina Fisheries Association, Inc.
Cell: (252) 361-3015
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bread Man 1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 11:28am
This is all just dancing around the real issues. When are we going to do something about the real problems?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote themoose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 12:14pm
Originally posted by Bread Man 1 Bread Man 1 wrote:

This is all just dancing around the real issues. When are we going to do something about the real problems?


If I was a betting man... I'd bet on never.

I have learned so much about our NC State government in the process. And I have never been quite as disillusioned.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ray Brown Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 12:26pm
Until some political party, or some powerful politician in NC finally puts a foot down, then NC's marine resources will continue to be handed to industry unlike no other state in the land.

But guys.....what has happened in the past is peanuts to what is about to happen. If you don't understand the ramifications that Cooke Aquaculture presents that have been handed them by Brown, Cook, Steinberg, Tillman, and others with the silent endorsement of Berger, Moore, Bell, Speciale, McElraft and others, then you are in for a rude awakening. No matter how bad it has been in the past it is going to get worse by leaps and bounds because not only are species going to continue to decline now you are going to see the tranquil wild beauty of NC's sounds and rivers be decimated by Cooke, others like it who will want in, and then the unsuspecting individuals who bought into Cooke's ideas and will lease tracks to support Cooke and others and together they will give us busy floating ports all up and down our shoreline.   Enjoy the wild and pristine views while you can.

And for those of you who don't know....Jerry's request to reinstate the "Joint Committee on Seafood and Aquaculture" (JCSA) is the absolute last thing the resource of NC needs. It was disbanded when Governor McCrory was elected because he saw what it was. It was a legislative committee that was made up almost entirely of coastal legislators that the NCFA had used for years to buffer any reform ideas that came forth from the other parts of the state. The ideas, requests, or suggestions had to funnel through JCSA and when they did they either automatically died or the committee quickly reported to the full body that nothing needed to change and the request or idea died. McCrory saw it for the sham it was, and will be again, if reinstated.

Cooper's people tell me they understand what it was too. Let's hope so.

Edited by Ray Brown - 12 January 2018 at 12:34pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrackishWater Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 2:17pm
Excerpt from email sent to all NC Legislators & Secretary's office this morning:

Schill's use of an editorial signed by a Life Member of CCA NC is another classic effort to mislead state leaders. Bill Hitchcock is not now, nor has he ever been, in a position of leadership with CCA NC. However, Hitchcock has served as the Director of Communications for the NC Fisheries Association. Nor has Bill Hitchcock ever reached out to anyone in a leadership position with CCA NC to ask our position on this or any other issue. Yet just because he once contributed money to CCA NC, Hitchcock feels he can made outlandish statements such as, "Simply put, they (CCA) are trying to eliminate what they perceive to be their competition", as if he has some sort of inside information because he is a Life Member. If you ever want to know the position of CCA NC on any issue, please call me.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Redfisher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 2:43pm
Bill Hitchcock.  Who is she?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bread Man 1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 4:52pm
I would love to hear the CCA's stance on this topic of defining a commercial fisherman.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BaitWaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 9:16pm
"The proposals would require legislative approval."

So, Breadman, will you qualify with the 36 trips or $10K?  Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TomM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 9:39pm
Trip Ickes and sales should qualify. That will eliminate a lot.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bread Man 1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 9:43pm
Originally posted by BaitWaster BaitWaster wrote:

"<span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:96%;font-family:"Times New Roman",serif"></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:96%;font-family:"Times New Roman",serif">The proposals would require legislative approval."

So, Breadman, will you qualify with the 36 trips or $10K?  Wink
</span>



36 trips or 10k of what? What are you getting at ...wink....wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ray Brown Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 10:29pm
Having talked to members of the MFC, full-time watermen, like Breadman will be addressed positively before anything goes to Raleigh, but bank VP's in Dare County or pharmacists from Kinston will no longer be able to sell their fish.   Again, look at your commercial fishing license. It expires on June 30th. There is no guarantee and never has been that the state will renew it or renew it with the same terms. When you buy that license you accept a business risk that your source of income can be modified or completely cut off on June 30th of next year. Harvesting for profit is a business, one year at a time.

I am not the one who put a time limit on it. Perhaps I am the only one who pointed out the obvious, and what the reality truly is. Not even Bill Cook can promise you a license will be renewed this year with no modifications, in fact, your privileges under a SCFL can change each time the director goes to the office, or the MFC meets, or the legislature is in session. It is dynamic in its allowances and not necessarily renewable on demand. Add weather and environmental issues to this, plus declining stocks and you suddenly realize what we all know. Commercial wild caught fishing is not a stable income producing profession each month of every year.

We also now know all too well that the biggest money in fishing now is with those who raise and grow out their own fish. Who would have thought that a company from a foreign country would buy out certain families in NC who for years told us "farm raised" was bad? Farm raised bought them out, how ironic. Not sure Jesus saw that one coming, or maybe one day Jesus added others to his long list that he asked to lay down their nets! With apologies to my devout friends.




Edited by Ray Brown - 12 January 2018 at 10:54pm
Shrimp trawling never stops in Pamlico Sound. It just pauses on the weekend so crabs can remove the dead and dying from the battlefield.
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