Bill would end commercial fishing for striped bass

By on March 16, 2011

In the wake of this winter’s uproar over striped bass kills off the Outer Banks, state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would designate the species a game fish and prohibit commercial catches in North Carolina waters.

The House bill also would add red drum and speckled trout to the list of game fish, putting all three off limits to commercial operations.

Previous legislation to designate red drum and speckled trout game fish made no headway in the General Assembly. But with the added attention to the striped bass and many new lawmakers in Raleigh, that could change, said Stephen Ammons, North Carolina director for the Coastal Conservation Association, which has been pushing for the bill.

“I have high hopes for it this time,” he said.

Mikey Daniels of Wanchese Fish Co. sees the legislation as another unjustified assault on commercial fishing that ignores research that mortalities are higher in releases by recreational anglers.

Consumers will also feel the consequences, he said.

“It they make it a game fish,” he said, “it’ll never be sold again.”

Two widely publicized fish kills this winter led to changes in the rules for commercial catches of striped bass.

The first one involved the release of fish from an overloaded net, the state Marine Fisheries Commission said. The second, smaller one took place the day trawlers were allowed back out under new rules that set the daily limit at 2,000 pounds and allowed the transfer of fish exceeding that to other licensed boats. The mortalities were apparently the result of culling fish from catches.

Fisheries officials subsequently decided to re-open the season one day at a time and limit trawls of nets to 30 minutes.

The bill, introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators, would restrict catches to hook and line in coastal waters. The legislation would prohibit selling or trading the fish and possessing them for sale inside or outside the state.

It calls for setting up a compensation fund that would pay commercial operations the equivalent of the average annual income from the species over a period of three years. The fund would also provide compensation for gear that could no longer be used because of the new prohibition.

Total payouts would be limited to $1 million.

Ammons said that his organization had unsuccessfully tried to persuade the state Marine Fisheries Commission to create stricter rules to protect the three species.

“We’ve gone through the process and it hasn’t worked,” he said.

Striped bass represent a small percentage of commercial catches but provide needed income between seasons for species that generate more money and tonnage, Daniels said.

“It’s going to be a really sad time for the commercial fishers,” he said.

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Danny Altman

April 11, 2011 1:21 pm

Believe Me I understand the need to feed ones family.
I have been in the Construction Business all my life and have worked as hard as any Fisherman to keep my Family fed.
No since the recession I have all but lost my Business and not I am working as a Paramedic saving lives and doing the best I can, My Business is gone,I started doing something else and as soon as the Construction Industry improves enough I will be back doing that which I love to do. I am also a Recreational Fisherman, one of the Joys I get when I go to the Outer Banks and spend My hard earned Money is to catch a couple of Nice Strippers but for the Past 3 years I have not caught the first Stripper,Not because I haven’t tried because I have. I feel it’s because of the needless slaughter for the Fish Off our coast. I’ll keep fishing,so My to those who Kill the wonderful and put them to Sea to wash ashore,Police yourself,Now Before it all gone for everyone.


April 2, 2011 8:20 pm

If the powers to be remove the striped bass from the take then there will be trawlers out there with smaller mesh clameing they are after another fish and how many striped bass will be dumped or end up in holds to be sold to the highest bidder at least let these “WORKING MEN” make a good catch, make a livening and provide a service to us all, and stop the waste.


March 29, 2011 7:18 pm

Seems strange. You’d think that the people who make their living from fishing would be the biggest conservationists. Those photos of thousands (not hundreds) of dead striped bass pretty much blow that idea out of the water. Hard to see how anyone, regardless of vocation, could see those photos and not KNOW it was wrong. And what about the times it happened when no one was there to photograph it? The commercial fishermen responsible may have complied with the letter of the regulation but they very obviously cared little for the intent–or the fish–or the environment–or the planet. Say what they will, there is no justification for that slaughter. None. It was wrong. People in Dare County don’t own the ocean, but reading through all these posts you get the impression they think they do. Finger pointing and claiming to be such a vital part of the culture and the economy just doesn’t cut it. Declaring red drum, specs and stripers to be game fish will hurt commercial fishing off North Carolina, but unless this change is made in while there wouldn’t be any commercial fishing anyway–there simply wouldn’t be any fish. This law might be a bit much. Perhaps a line and hook commercial season would be more appropriate, more fair, and more workable. But one look at the photos of those floating stripers and I have to think that the commercial fishermen did it to themselves. Next season when I throw a line out and DON’T catch a striper, I’ll think of all those dead fish taken out of the breeding pool for no possibly justifiable reason.


March 23, 2011 8:09 pm

i’ve read all the comments so far with great interest. my first fishing experience was commercial ; going out with an older guy to fish his pound nets when i was about first job on the water was with a local fishing legend (capt. wayland baum )when i was thirteen as a mate on his charter boat.then boats out of oregon inlet were not booked solid for a whole season like they are now. so one day we would fish with a party and the next we’d go for the market (hook and line). as i got older i switched to trawlers & longliners and i fished the entire coast from key west to the flemish cap of the farthest grand banks. so i have had the pleasure of working all our fisheries for recreation , charter, & commercially.hey guys;before there was much regulation out there we all worked together, in good times & bad.if any of us are shut out of any of these fisheries the results won’t be positive. if you like crabmeat, soft crabs, hard crabs, for example there won’t be a commercial harvest to speak of. thats because stripers like them too. striper’s have been found with 40 to 50 in their stomach. they also slay trout in large quantities. maybe we need to re -think this carefully or many of us will have only memories, empty pockets and empty bellies…


March 22, 2011 6:57 pm

Several years ago a CCA member, in regards to my commercial fishing activity asked me …”Why can’t you just take more charters and quit commercial fishing?”. I tried to explain that fishing charters just arent always enough, expecially in tough economic times not to mention seasonal issues. Many of us depend on both charter and commercial fisheries to survive. I quickly realized that any explaination was pointles, that his mind was made up regardless of facts.
I also have a memory of seeing large bluefish blitzing the beach in the 80′s and beach fisherman leaving piles like cordwood rotting on the beach.
I guess, that while I cant condone wastful practices by either recreational or commercial fishing, neither should OWN the resource and the DMF is there for the management purposes.
Also, I would remind everyone that should the commercial fisherman vanish from the outerbanks, so do many of the positive things that our visitors love.


March 22, 2011 6:28 pm

Why do commercial fisherman always think it is them against the world? Everyone has children to feed and very few are fortunate enough to be in a position where their livelihoods are not threatened on a daily basis. I am sick of hearing the excuse that food is being taken out of their children’s mouth – do you really think that the rest of the nation is better off than you?? The striped bass do not exist so that you can exploit them to feed your family. If you would learn how to harvest them responsibly no one would have a problem. Time after time some idiot with a net sends a message to the world that commercial fisherman are a bunch of stupid, greedy meathunters. Fix the problem within. Police yourself. The public is not going to remember that fresh fish dinner they had last night, they are going to remember seeing pictures of thousands of striped bass floating dead off the beach.

P.S. Speaking of that fresh fish dinner – I am also sick of hearing about the great service commercial fisherman provide by ensuring that Joe Schmo from the country can have a fresh striped bass dinner. Joe Schmo from the country will not know the difference between a farm raised striped bass, a wild striped bass and a grouper fillet.

Please start putting together logical arguments as to why a select few should be able to do this to a resource. This fishery provides nothing to the public that is not already provided farm raised.

I understand that some have been fishing striped bass commercially for years. But, please, wake up and smell the roses, that does not equate to you being entitled to abusing the resource. My father and his coworkers held their jobs for years as well, but that did not stop them from being cut when the company downsized. Such is life.


March 22, 2011 1:49 pm

The coment was made that if the .10 hook was deep in the fish that it is riped out. I cary tools that can cut the hook or leader and carefuly relase the fish ALIVE. If the fish is too badly hurt and if it is something I am allowed to take I will either eat it for dinner or freze it for bait, anything I cannot use goes in the crab pot!All they do is conplain about the rules but the few trout that we can catch are so small they will not make a fish stick, and the fish cop is like big brother breathing down your neck. There was a incident a few years ago when there were some fish to be caught, that there was a good run of fish, it was less than a hour there were about a half dozen P/U on the beach and a dory draged the out the ____ net, the next morning they were back and loaded the P/U,s to the top with fish. Several P.U. made several trips. We never caught a keeper after that but the dead fish washed by and on the beach in large #, NO wonder the last few years my frezzer has been a void and I have to ration what I did mangage to save for my famly for the winter I hope if this ban goes through it will apply to the beach nets on the beach also. Another thing NO body is allowed to drive on the beach in K.H. execpt Com. fisherman, you wonder who made that rule.


March 21, 2011 2:01 pm

Having witnessed on Hatteras Island (over the last 37 years) the destruction of recreational fishing for Stripped Bass, Speckled Trout and to much extent the Red Drum, I would favor a moratorium on commercial fishing for these species. I’m convinced that commercial fishing is responsible.


March 20, 2011 7:02 pm

Why are so many people attacking commercial fishermen? Everyone is acting like they are to blame for ALL the problems with fishing. What about the fish that arent fished commercially that are close to endangered because people are over fishing them?


March 20, 2011 10:51 am

Let’s face it folks; up and down the east coast we are being regulated out of the things we like to do. Whether it’s rec or comm fisherman, the government has a habit of implementing rules and regs that seem to lack common sense and a good game plan. Without a united group, we will all be wondering (if we aren’t already) what the heck happened. We need to be one voice to ensure that we create a balanced plan that helps all. Yes, we will never please everyone, but there are solutions to every issue. Tall task for sure, but if we leave it to our politicians you can be sure it will get worse. I think most of us have a common thread; we like and the outdoors, want to take care of our natural resources, be able to fish and be free to do so! Again, this is not only a regional issue; up and down the coast we are constantly under threat of losing what we like to do. United we stand, divided we fall.


March 20, 2011 10:21 am

These fleet boys act like they hold our economy together, The last couple of year I’ve had to listen to you capt cry that no one wants to pay $1800. for a day keep blowing that horn , you look foolish.


March 20, 2011 5:38 am

The majority of people whining about commercial fisherman,could care less about the resource itself.It’s all about a big ego and how many fish I caught today.Give me a break!

Make sure you shed a tear,the next time you rip the guts out of a flounder,or trout,to recover your ten cent hook,while preaching conservation.

What a bunch of self-righteousness hypocrites!These radical environmentalists are loving every minute of it.Once the commercial fisherman are gone,the cross hairs are on you!Greed will destroy you,AND I HOPE IT DOES!


March 19, 2011 9:27 pm

By the way… Regarding the idiotic idea of also shutting down the charter boats too… You know the ones with Rods & Reels vs massive nets that kill thousands of by catch fish…

If the charter boats are shut down then OBX can kiss $20k+ per year in tourism dollars. We won’t be renting two houses for two weeks or buying groceries or eating out or chartering boats out of Pirates Cove and Oregon Inlet. We also won’t be coming back down over the fall/winter for bluefin+yellowfin trips…add it all up and then factor in the tens of thousands of people just like me and you can see why the govt is stepping in before the comm guys really F things up even more.


March 19, 2011 9:09 pm

It’s about time! Tired of hearing the whining from the comms…you brought this on yourselves by your own actions. Yes, we all realize you have to earn a living, but not like this. The recreational fishing industry brings in MUCH more state tax revenue and local income…so your arguments about lost jobs/income doesn’t come close to matching the lost local revenues in house rentals, tackle shops, charter boats, rec fishing licenses, resteraunts, etc.

This is the type of behavior that lead to the collapse of stripers, weakfish, etc in the late 70s and 80s… Glad to see this getting nipped in the bud before it’s too late.

Fred F SJ

March 19, 2011 8:37 pm

the way the laws are now stink, there is just too much waste. Catching is not the problem the waste is, there must be laws to protect all species from overfishing and waste. Right now there is just too much waste in the commercial fishery. Gill netters kill everything that get caught in their nets and trawlers kill way too many non targeted fish and destroy the ocean bottom which also effects all marine life


March 19, 2011 4:35 pm

Wake up folks! You are being played like a fiddle. This is all about greed, restricting access to these fish to a wealthy minority.

Common Sense

March 19, 2011 10:25 am

Heres the deal – give the commercials rod and reels and let them catch and sell the fish. Get rid of the nets and longlines in all commercial industries and make them catch with ROD AND REEL.
Also keep this in mind when you hear what comm’s say “My grandfather was a commercial fisherman so I have the right to be!” What you never hear comm’s say is “I want my grand-kids to be able to be commercial fisherman!” Anyone ever hear them say that?????

Its typical greed and that is the beast that is ruining EVERYTHING in this world…its all about profit!


March 19, 2011 9:22 am

Mortality rates for caught and released fish are based on fish that were not released in the same manner recs release them. The studies involved catching stripers and putting them in a live well all day and than transporting them to net pens for observation. Not the same. If catch and release is so terrible how do we catch so many tagged fish.

Ray M.

March 19, 2011 9:11 am

Ben,our tourism economy here on the Outer Banks has been healthy longer than 30 years; but, yes, when the real growth started, our problems and burdens on our tax structure grew exponentially. Unfortuantely, we are now past the point where we should have asked ourselves, “is bigger better”? And, its a darn shame all those Stumpy Point fishhouse don’t exist today. They were part of what made Dare County great.


March 19, 2011 8:33 am

OK we all can agree that the rules for Striped Bass commercial fishing are not designed by smart people. I dont like to see waste no more than the next person, but to blame all the Stripers floating dead every year on the rules is getting to be an old excuse. Also to say that the recreational fisherman waste more fish than anybody just tells me that you dont get out on the water very often. I think a fair solution for both sides, would be to do away with trawl nets and go to a hook & line season. They do it up north and it seems to work just fine. They commercial fish that way here for King Mackerel and you dont here anyone complaining about that fisheries.


March 19, 2011 2:59 am

Its about time, these trawlers are killing everything they catch, then they have the balls the through back dead and dieing fish, year after year, now many eyes are on them. As far as someone that fishes every day in the summer, protect them all from the comm fishery, tuna bunker, fluke, what happend to the weekfish. Go get another job, thats why tuna stocks are on the verge of colapse. Rec fishermen only catch a few, the commercial fleet kill 100 of metric tons a year, tell me how long that will last. Good job with the bill, PASS IT


March 18, 2011 10:19 pm

Also, everyone that is saying cut off charter boating is moronic. The outer banks thrives from the tourism and charter fishing is probably one of the profitable. A lot of people come down in the summer time and go out on charter boats. If they are shut down you might as well turn the outer banks into a ghost town because a lot of people will stop coming they will take their business somewhere else. The whole idea of cutting off access to striped bass for anything other than the people who want just want to come fish for a few days is about a dumb an idea that ive ever heard of and is going to result in the loss of jobs and revenue for the towns and people who livce on the outer banks. Also, if you arent from these parts and dont fish these waters or make a living in these waters why should you get a say? Im sorry boats and people making their living is disrupting your views and all but we gotta live too. We dont come for a few weeks then go back to our upper class homes.


March 18, 2011 10:07 pm

Wow some of these comments make no sense at all and some just seem to be talking out of their rear ends. For anyone that is for the signing of this bill congrats, you just took food from my three year old and several of my friends children. Does that help you sleep at night? These people cannot help that some fish do die, they die too if you catch them rod and reel fishing and the hook goes too deep or you keep it out the water too long because you need the perfect picture, etc. But you would rather feed your family for one meal than to think about other families who work hard to catch these fish to pay the bills and provide more than just one meal. But hey whatever helps you sleep at night. Maybe we should stick some of yall on the boats and that be the only way you make your living and see how much you like this bill. Think about others instead of playing this tree hugging save the earth bs.


March 18, 2011 8:47 am

I said it when the trawling video first hit the internet. The commercial sector needed to get out in front of that image saying that they were “disturbed”, “appalled”, or some words like that………yet they said either absolutely nothing……or tried to make excuses for what we could see with our eyes. They did themselves so much harm with their reaction/lack of reaction that I commented back then that it would come back to haunt them. Well….here is what you are about to reap from what you have sown. Marc is no longer in power…….the power is in the Piedmont……..and how many commercial fishermen do you think live in the Triangle? Also, this bill is now in the Legislature……if it were just a rule proposal in the MFC, then we would have a better chance. This bill will get some traction……it is just a matter of how far it will go…….and if it does pass, Bev will likely sign it if she really wants to run for a second term.


March 18, 2011 8:16 am

Gas prices will no doubt save alot of fish, The killing of fish by sport fishers is a bunch of fish feathers,Thier just trying to take every one down with them! Y’all shot your on foot, and you did thumb your noses

middle class

March 18, 2011 7:58 am

Its amazing to me the everyone does not realize that the CCA is a high dollar organization that wants the coastal waters of north carolina to be a extension of their private club. With all of the recent talk about job creation the CCA wants to put more working class people out of a job. The only thing this bill would do is get the big ugly fishing boats with the local fishermen on board so they can make room for their charter boats. The man working on the commercial boat is trying to provide for his family. If you can walk into a family home around dinner time and scrape the food off of the table or cut their heat off next winter then you should support this bill.

Dave Willcox

March 18, 2011 7:53 am

I live in West Virginia been fishing OBX for years.The commercaial fishing guys has ruined the fishing.In the last 5 to 6 years its sad.Now you get a good run of fish and kill and waste so many!!Two years ago I get up look out the door of a kill devel hills motel I was staying in ,hears a guy in a toyota truck pulling in a net a 1/4 mile long with two behind keeping trout throwing all the dead stuff back.I hate it any time the government has there hands in a mans pocket but your getting what you deserve.

John VanderMyde

March 18, 2011 7:33 am

It’s about time.


March 18, 2011 6:53 am

before tourism totally propped up the local economy…
stumpy point was the shad capitol of the world.being a commercial fisherman was a respectable profession. there are people here whose families have been here for hundreds of years ..we didn’t just show up 30 yrs. ago and start building multi-million dollar ghettos…think about us before you vent your self righteos indignation!!!


March 17, 2011 11:44 pm

Last time I looked striped bass were listed as recovered and not overfished. With the new changes in trawling times, I think that most fish released will recover. With the increase in gas prices, there will be alot of fish protected, cause NO ONE will be able to afford to go!


March 17, 2011 9:47 pm

Get a grip folks. Gamefish designation is not about conservation. It is about restricting who has access to the resource. It places access out of reach of those who don’t have a Grady White or a vacation place at the shore.


March 17, 2011 9:01 pm

The recreational angler killed more fish illegally than said trawl boat. Granted they were eaten none the less they were caught over the three mile line!! ILLEGAL!! The Coast Guard is out there because of the illegal taking of fish. Its BAD GOVERMENT!! Blame the man that makes the laws!


March 17, 2011 8:18 pm

I am tired of these ocean rapers going out there and anything they cannot make a profit on is dumped in the sea dead no wonder there is none left that are keepers. they kill them in the nets then if they do not meet the limt they are dumped dead then when the large kill is reported they claim the “the net broke” This happened a few years back with spot and it was the same story “the net broke” tons of dead spot washed on shore dead and I would have wished I could have caught just enough to feed my family.


March 17, 2011 8:02 pm

george W . bush already tried to do this with an executive order .commercil fishing has already been over-
regulated to the point that caused the fishermen to throw back perfectly good fish that were seen floating .the government doesn’t do this to farmers!!

Ray M.

March 17, 2011 6:34 pm

If the “powers that be” in Dare County worked as hard to protect our commercial fishermen as they do to protect all those big McMansions on our beaches, we wouldn’t be having these kind of problems. Also, if they would work towards getting legislative approval to use some of that slush fund beach nourishment money to help get Oregon Inlet stabilized, it would be money well spent…


March 17, 2011 4:32 pm

AND they did it for BIG $$$$$$$$$$


March 17, 2011 4:21 pm

Yes, this is absolutely the fault of the commercial fisherman who insulted and embarrassed everyone else in North Carolina by thumbing their nose at us and wastefully slaughtering fish by the thousands. They do this every day– the waste in commercial fishing is incredible. Not only here, but in all waters. Thousands upon thousands of stripers illegally killed in nets in the Chesapeake this year. The days when anyone had any sympathy for the mentality to kill everything they can to make a nickel are long gone. Even the spot population is in danger.


March 17, 2011 2:50 pm

I don,t think they should make them all game fish, However I do think they should outlaw all trawling.They kinda brought it on themselves.Most commercial I know are racing like hell to catch the last one

Rob Alderman

March 17, 2011 1:48 pm

Yep…this bill was definitely coming after what happened this winter.

I don’t agree with it, but the actions of the trawlers and the NCDMF opened the door for this one.

With the CFRG and CCA using every card they have on this one–you can almost know this is going to pass.

Pender Patriot

March 17, 2011 11:44 am

Does anybody ever tell folks that Mickey Daniels is a commercial member of the MFC???? EVER????

North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission:
Daniels, Mikey
Commercial Fisherman


March 17, 2011 8:28 am

Don’t agree with the bill but do agree that the actions of a few screwed this up for all the others. Slaughtering those fish in full view of all those boats as just plain arrogant and stupid. Then to do it several more times after the heat was on? Dumb.


March 17, 2011 7:56 am

Unfortunately, a few commercial fishermen screwed it up for everyone. Shame on them!


March 17, 2011 7:45 am

TC, read the story: this nonsense is coming from Raleigh, not Washington DC. It’s the people in charge in the state legislature that are grandstanding and chasing headlines with no regard for our fishing industry. They could (if they really tried) care less about a bunch of small businessmen and women who don’t have money, clout, or thousands of votes in their pocket.


March 17, 2011 5:16 am

Yea,make sure that also includes charter boats.



March 17, 2011 4:53 am

Once again let’s do a knee jerk reaction instead of analyzing a situation to see how things can be improved for all.

These incidents happened because “rules”.

Look at this from the fish’s perspective. He’s minding his own business when three different things can happen. 1. he can get yanked up on a beach. 2. he can get yanked up onto a boat. 3. he and a bunch of his buddies can be swept up together and yanked onto a boat. Sometimes he is lucky and gets chucked back unharmed. Sometimes he is injured and chucked back to die. Sometimes he is chucked back dead.It is irrelevant to him who does the deed. It still has an effect on him.

Humans will make the rules which will dictate the odds on which way he gets yanked…

I’d much prefer “rules” which make sense for all the people yanking the fish. Reduce waste, protect the survivability of all the species, and allow the SANE recreational enjoyment and commercial use of the fish of the sea.


March 16, 2011 8:21 pm

MY husband and his family commercial fish for a living if this thing passes there goes our income for the winter until oystering. Unless of course they are gonna put more restrictions on that too. They are killing commercial fishing and for a lot of people that is all they know what are they gonna do when you cant do it anymore because there is no profit to be made?


March 16, 2011 8:14 pm

Great. Really looking forward to sefood from Ecuador.


March 16, 2011 7:55 pm

This is not Rocket science but if the Feds are involved you had might as well forget about seeing a fair solution for anyone, what a shame that the Feds can azz up something that so many folks depend on.They keep taking away a little at a time and they wonder why this country is on a fast track to hell.
Next time you go to the market and wonder why there is no fresh fish, I hope this situation comes to mind.
What a major disappointment in our system, it’s all about me me me.

ove and out


March 16, 2011 6:18 pm

What do the these folks in Raleigh know about life on the coast?

When the inlet shoals up and the Coast Guard closes the inlet to ALL boat traffic,JUST REMEMBER THAT THING CALLED KARMA!


March 16, 2011 6:04 pm

i think they should also include charter for hire. one for the goose and one for the gandar.


March 16, 2011 5:32 pm

I dont think they should be BANNED from fishing for a living,But they did this to themselves. It would cost a fortune to babysit them.

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