Gamefish proposal sent to proposed legislative panel

By on June 19, 2011

Legislation proposed to put striped bass off limits to commercial watermen by designating the species a gamefish has been put under the umbrella of a new legislative study committee.

The bill would have designated striped bass, red drum and speckled trout as gamefish in North Carolina, effectively taking them off the commercial market.

Efforts to re-classify red drum and speckled trout have failed in the past.

This year’s effort to include striped bass, or rockfish, partially grew out of an uproar over thousands of fish dying, apparently as a result of culling by commercial trawlers.

After photos and videos of dead fish floating on the ocean hit the Internet last winter, the state Division of Marine Fisheries changed a 50-fish daily limit to 2,000 pounds and limited net drags to 30 minutes.

The agency also allowed fish exceeding the limit to be transferred at sea to other licensed vessels.

A bill to create the study committee was passed by the General Assembly before it wrapped up business last week. It is under a larger bill to create study commissions, and differences between the House and the Senate versions still need to be resolved.

Also examined by the Marine Fisheries Legislative Study Committee would be banning trawling in North Carolina waters and creating commercial hook-and-line seasons.

In addition, the committee would look at the structure of the Marine Fisheries Commission and the Division of Marine Fisheries.

Included in the legislation creating the committee is the possibility of revisions to the Fisheries Reform Act of 1997.

The panel would be made up of four members of the state House of Representatives and four members of the state Senate.


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dare native

June 29, 2011 10:31 am

SouthCreek it does deny the nonfishing public who like to eat these fish the rite to purchase these fish at local fish market, restuarant or any where else.If commercial fisherman can’t sell them,then how’s the nonfishing public going to get these local fish to eat,are the die hard rec influenced CCA members going to hand there catches out or they going to C&R?????GAMEFISH STATUS IS NOTHING BUT PURE GREED!!!!!!!!Nothing but pure down right lies told to our legislators by these anti commercial groups,without commercial fishing you have zero real live data in N.C. for these 3 species,How about push for some rec fish tags so we can get a count on just what these recs are taking from our waters and quit guessing or punching in #’s on a computer program until it fits there need.Remember the commercials have a qouta or cap on these fish and 2 of them are a by-catch fishery so where or what is the rec cap on these fish,when they catch a certain amount are they shut down???

Allan 2

June 28, 2011 9:34 pm

SouthCreek: Time will tell. Having left the area two years ago I’m not really in touch with the current mood. I just have a naturally doubtful attitude that politicians will actually do anything which runs contrary to the views of those with the $$, as in financial contributors to re-election efforts.


June 26, 2011 8:49 pm

To Allan 2: I think this is much more than some think. There has been a move behind the scenes for some time to completely revamp the MFC/DMF and their ability to regulate. Given the rise in non-commercial interests in the Legislature, it will be interesting to see what actually is in this committee’s report next year. Remember, the people in the Legislature will NOT change from where they are today when this gets to the floor.

To dare native…….not really……it just denies the commercial fishermen the ability to sell them. Greed to one is making a living to another……all depends on your view.

Allan 2

June 26, 2011 1:00 pm

Ah ha! Now explain to us what tossing over maybe thousnads of pounds of small fist to harvest larger fish is called. Lets face it, it’s a matter of power. You got the power, you make the rules. One side looses and one wins. This bull about “compromise” and “win win” is just that….crappo!

dare native

June 26, 2011 7:23 am

Gamsfish status does nothing but deny the nonfishing public the rite to to purchase these fish,nothing but pure greed from the rec fishing community.

Allan 2

June 24, 2011 6:05 pm

SouthCreek: The post, while informative, seems to underscore the truth of my last post. Lost in the world of words,committees and inaction. Make like we are doing something constructive. As when I was working and the organization called a “meeting”. It’s all the practical alternative to work or in this case, the practical alternative to solve a problem…form a study group.


June 24, 2011 8:24 am

Just in case you did not know, the gamefish question is only a part of what this committee is going to look at. It is my understanding that this is now law……so it will be very interesting who these 8 legislators turn out to be. Unless there are a number of them from north of Portsmouth Island and east of Greenville, we may be in for some BIG changes. This legislation was part of the big bill on studies and commissions that enables them all. Following is just the part of the big bill that relates to the gamefish question.

SECTION 48.1. Committee created. – There is created the Marine Fisheries Legislative Study Committee (Committee). The Committee shall consist of eight members as follows:
(1) Four members of the Senate, appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
(2) Four members of the House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

SECTION 48.2. The Committee may study the following:
(1) The potential impact to both the State’s fisheries resources and the State’s economy related to the designation of Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), Spotted Sea Trout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) as coastal game fish.
(2) Changes to the appointment process and qualification for membership on the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission.
(3) Creation of a hook and line commercial fishery.
(4) Elimination of the trawl boat fishery in North Carolina.
(5) Entering into reciprocal agreements with other jurisdictions with regard to the conservation of marine and estuarine resources; and regulating placement of nets and other sports or commercial fishing apparatus in coastal fishing waters with regard to navigational and recreational safety as well as from a conservation standpoint.
(6) Entering into agreements regarding the delegation of law enforcement powers from the National Marine Fisheries Service over matters within the jurisdiction of the Service.
(7) Potential modification of the Fisheries Reform Act of 1997.
(8) Whether Marine Fisheries should be a division of the Coastal Resources Commission or the Wildlife Resources Commission.
(9) Other findings that promote the allocation of the State’s resources to the optimum use.
(10) Any other matters the Committee deems relevant.

SECTION 48.3. The Committee may make a final report to the 2012 Regular Session of the 2011 General Assembly that includes findings, recommendations, and legislative proposals relating to its study. The Committee shall terminate upon filing its final report or upon the convening of the 2013 Regular Session of the General Assembly, whichever is earlier.

SECTION 48.4. Vacancies on the Committee shall be filled by the appointing authority. The Committee shall choose from among its membership a chair and a vice-chair. A quorum of the Committee shall be five members.

SECTION 48.5. The Committee, while in the discharge of its official duties, may exercise all powers provided for under G.S. 120-19 and G.S. 120-19.1 through G.S. 120-19.4, including the power to request all officers, agents, agencies, and departments of the State to provide any information, data, or documents within their possession, ascertainable from their records, or otherwise available to them, and the power to subpoena witnesses.

The Committee may meet at any time upon call of the chairs. The Committee may meet in the Legislative Building or the Legislative Office Building. The Committee may contract for professional, clerical, or consultant services as provided by G.S. 120-32.02.
The Legislative Services Commission, through the Legislative Services Officer, shall assign professional staff to assist the Committee in its work. The House of Representatives’ and Senate’s Directors of Legislative Assistants shall assign clerical staff to the Committee, and the expenses relating to the clerical employees shall be borne by the Committee. Members of the Committee shall receive subsistence and travel expenses at the rates set forth in G.S. 120-3.1, 138-5, or 138-6, as appropriate.

Allan 2

June 23, 2011 9:20 pm

Pretty funny! What is there to study? What “new” info will come from the “study group”. What you have to understand is that most such “study groups” are not design to find “new” facts nor to study anything. They are designed to give the majority sentiment the time to look for ways to spin the data to support their planned/favored actions. My bet is the group is generally supportive of the commercial industry and no actions will be taken which impose any meaningful limits on the commercial fishermen. They will probably find some token actions to propose so they can claim an open unbiased process. Just another joke!


June 20, 2011 8:21 pm

We just need to see who is going to be on this study group to see what the likely outcome will be. If it is loaded with folks from south of Ocracoke or west of Greenville, then I’d bet on gamefish status for at least drum and trout. Marc is not there to kill such discussions this time……..


June 20, 2011 12:30 pm

Such nobel men, what a joke,you watch these guys are going to do it again, then what?


June 20, 2011 12:24 pm

further delaying the economic benefit of gamefish status. Bringing sportfishing tourists to NC is where the money is. Our coastal counties desperately need the tax revenues the tourists bring. Dare county’s Oregon Inlet economic study made the benefits of sport fishing crystal clear. Gamefish status is not the end of commercial fishing but it is the beginning of an economic windfall for NC.


June 20, 2011 9:56 am

From the looks of the bill, especially the sections dealing with marine fisheries and their management, there’s gonna be a “whole lotta shaking going on”!

The debate over gamefish, once it was done in the light of day had disturbed legislators enough to take a stroll through that pasture and kick some cow pies, and y’all know what a mess that can be!

This looks a lot like those first few satellite pics of the weather that finally turned into the “perfect storm”, but we’ll see.

The article is a “tid” off in that the whole bill will most likely not be passed until mid-July when the legislators head back into session, but what do I know???

I thought gamefish was dead, killed by the likes of NCFA, the NCWU and the Gov??? Thanks!!!

Take care

Allan 2

June 20, 2011 6:35 am

Looks like the commercial interest won again. No surprise, of course just more reason to aviod NC costal waters AGAIN in 2011.


June 19, 2011 10:58 pm

OK .. let me think; maybe we should call this the CCA Study Committee.

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