Hearings to be held on hook-and-line for stripers

By on May 30, 2011

State fisheries regulators want to know what the public thinks about a commercial ocean hook-and-line season for striped bass.

Earlier this month, the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission decided to take the idea to regional advisory committees as a possible alternative to ocean trawling with nets.

Trawling created an uproar this winter after thousands of discarded fish were seen dead on the water and pictures and videos circulated on the Internet.

The commission also went on record as opposing pending legislation that would designated striped bass, as well as red drum and speckled trout, as game fish, effectively putting it off limits to commercial fishing, according to a statement from the state Division of Marine Fisheries.

In February, the commission had directed the division to look into the idea of a commercial hook-and-line season, which has been prohibited since 1985.

Staff members provided options that included keeping the trawling season and adding hook-and-line, or replacing trawling with hook-and-line. They said a hook-and-line fishery with no other limitations could bring in more watermen because it is less expensive.

“Anyone with a standard commercial fishing license or retired standard commercial fishing license can receive an ocean striped bass permit for specified gears,” the statement said. “There are about 6,700 of these license holders. In the 2010-2011 season, the division issued 844 commercial ocean striped bass permits, and only 207 of these permit holders actually participated in one of the fisheries.”
 
One option would be a limited entry system.

The issue will be taken to the state’s four regional advisory committees and its Finfish Advisory Committee and consider the results at its August meeting.

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