North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission ruled out of compliance with federal weakfish mandate

Craig Holt

May 10, 2010 at 2:14 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

State and federal managers agree that gray trout are overfished, and a recent state decision to ignore a federal mandate aimed at reducing the catch of the species could result in the complete closure of the fishery in North Carolina waters.
State and federal managers agree that gray trout are overfished, and a recent state decision to ignore a federal mandate aimed at reducing the catch of the species could result in the complete closure of the fishery in North Carolina waters.
For the first time, a North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission decision regarding a fisheries resource has been voted out of compliance with federal regulations by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and the matter could ultimately result in a statewide closure for weakfish.

The ASFMC ruled at its May 4 meeting that the state Commission's March 20 decision not to abide by the federal mandate to reduce the harvest of weakfish (a.k.a. gray trout) has put North Carolina out of compliance.

The Marine Fisheries Commission will meet tomorrow (May 11) through Thursday (May 13) in Raleigh, and the weakfish issue is on the agenda.

North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Director Louis Daniel is expected to advise the Marine Fisheries Commission to come into compliance with the ASFMC or risk a total shutdown of the weakfish fishery.

Weakfish numbers have been declining for years in Atlantic coast states, particularly in North Carolina which continues to lead all states with 30 percent of the total catch of gray trout. Even the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries lists gray trout as depleted – and commercial and recreational landngs currently are at the lowest level on record, even though DMF statistics show overfishing isn't occurring.

The ASMFC ruling was in response to those statistics.
 
The disagreement over management cropped up when the state Commission wanted commercial fishermen to be allowed to keep more than 100 pounds of "bycatch" (weakfish caught accidentally in nets set to capture other species).

The ASMFC's mandate to states is to limit recreational fishermen to one weakfish per day – the daily creel limit is currently six - and 100 pounds of bycatch per commercial fishing trip. The commercial mandate is down from 150 pounds for gill nets, fly nets, shrimp and crab trawls. No trip limit exists for seines.
 
The argument against the ASFMC's mandate is that commercial fishermen in North Carolina would be forced to discard more than a million pounds of bycatch weakfish. The Marine Fisheries Commission voted 4-2 at its March 2010 meeting in Kitty Hawk not to adopt ASFMC mandates.

The ASFMC's response on May 4 will go to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce within 30 days. If the secretary rules against the state, the federal government could close the entire weakfish fishery in North Carolina.
 
Robert Bizzell, chairman of the Marine Fisheries Commission, admitted the vote was a deliberate decision to go out of compliance with ASMFC mandates.
 
"I didn't like the (MFC) voting to go out of compliance with the ASMFC's mandate to stop the overfishing of weakfish," he is quoted in news reports. "I believe in the integrity of the process, and what we did violates the process. But I … like even less the idea of wasting fish.

“Overfishing is occurring and needs to stop, but I feel that we need to study, in more depth, how to properly end overfishing. Some fishing operations, in particular the long-haul beach seine, can harvest thousands of pounds of weakfish. For the majority of these harvested fish to be discarded dead is bothersome to me."
 
Representatives of conservation groups scoffed at Bizzell's explanation.

"We have regressed back to the bad old days,” Dick Brame, director of the Coastal Conservation Association's Atlantic States Fisheries section, was quoted in a news report as saying. “ This is a stock that has for all intents and purposes collapsed from fishing mortality and unknown and increasing natural mortality.

“The (feds) should have closed the fishery, but instead elected to allow a small bycatch fishery. The (Commission's) intent, I believe, is to work the non-compliance process until the last minute, then have (the director) use proclamation authority to put them back in compliance at the last minute. They believe the process will take months, which allows them to fish unhindered in the meantime.”
 
Brame said he believes undue pressure from the commercial fishing industry is the source of the problem.

"The (Commission) is so dominated by commercial interests now that this sort of irresponsible behavior occurs," he said. "Its members should consider how to eliminate any harvest in order to give the stock the best chance of recovery."


View other articles written Craig Holt


Reports / Forum
Opening Day Success  This report contains photos  
April 13 at 2:44 am | 2007 Views | 3 Comments
1st Thunder Chicken  This report contains photos  
April 12 at 8:49 am | 1217 Views | 6 Comments
Opening Morning Double!!  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 8:17 am | 883 Views | 4 Comments
First Turkey...  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 12:39 pm | 623 Views | 4 Comments
Black Bass Fishing is Great  This report contains photos  
April 12 at 5:21 pm | 541 Views | 0 Comments
Tagged out in two days  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 11:26 am | 487 Views | 3 Comments
opening day success  This report contains photos  
April 15 at 12:29 pm | 469 Views | 1 Comments
Weldon Stripers 
April 15 at 7:14 am | 421 Views | 1 Comments
Twin Girls First Turkey!  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 8:51 am | 409 Views | 1 Comments
First Turkey 
April 14 at 12:27 pm | 287 Views | 0 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 6:43 am | 261 Views | 2 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 8:03 pm | 245 Views | 1 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 11:10 am | 213 Views | 1 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 6:47 pm | 211 Views | 1 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
14 hours ago | 121 Views | 0 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 10:39 am | 113 Views | 0 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
10 hours ago | 99 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
1st Thunder Chicken  This report contains photos  
April 12 at 8:49 am | 1217 Views | 6 Comments
First Turkey...  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 12:39 pm | 623 Views | 4 Comments
Opening Morning Double!!  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 8:17 am | 883 Views | 4 Comments
Tagged out in two days  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 11:26 am | 487 Views | 3 Comments
Opening Day Success  This report contains photos  
April 13 at 2:44 am | 2007 Views | 3 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 6:43 am | 261 Views | 2 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 8:03 pm | 245 Views | 1 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 11:10 am | 213 Views | 1 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 6:47 pm | 211 Views | 1 Comments
Twin Girls First Turkey!  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 8:51 am | 409 Views | 1 Comments
opening day success  This report contains photos  
April 15 at 12:29 pm | 469 Views | 1 Comments
Weldon Stripers 
April 15 at 7:14 am | 421 Views | 1 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
10 hours ago | 99 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
14 hours ago | 121 Views | 0 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 10:39 am | 113 Views | 0 Comments
First Turkey 
April 14 at 12:27 pm | 287 Views | 0 Comments
Black Bass Fishing is Great  This report contains photos  
April 12 at 5:21 pm | 541 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
Paisley's first turkey 
10 hours ago | 99 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
14 hours ago | 121 Views | 0 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 8:03 pm | 245 Views | 1 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 11:10 am | 213 Views | 1 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 10:39 am | 113 Views | 0 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 6:43 am | 261 Views | 2 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 6:47 pm | 211 Views | 1 Comments
Tagged out in two days  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 11:26 am | 487 Views | 3 Comments
Twin Girls First Turkey!  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 8:51 am | 409 Views | 1 Comments
opening day success  This report contains photos  
April 15 at 12:29 pm | 469 Views | 1 Comments
Weldon Stripers 
April 15 at 7:14 am | 421 Views | 1 Comments
First Turkey...  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 12:39 pm | 623 Views | 4 Comments
First Turkey 
April 14 at 12:27 pm | 287 Views | 0 Comments
Opening Morning Double!!  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 8:17 am | 883 Views | 4 Comments
Opening Day Success  This report contains photos  
April 13 at 2:44 am | 2007 Views | 3 Comments
Black Bass Fishing is Great  This report contains photos  
April 12 at 5:21 pm | 541 Views | 0 Comments
1st Thunder Chicken  This report contains photos  
April 12 at 8:49 am | 1217 Views | 6 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum

Free Classifieds

Late 60\'s Early 70\'s Zabala 20 Gauge Double Barrell
Late 60\'s Early 70\'s Zabala 20 Gauge Double Barrell
Late 60's Early 70's Eagle Arms by Zabala 20 Gauge Double Barrel Shotgun. 26' Barrel, 3' shells. This gun was handed down to me and I am not a gun enthusiast, so do not have a need for it. Can provide more pics, info if necessary. Email...
April 16 at 5:30 pm | 57 Views
GUN HUNTS IN KANSAS
GUN HUNTS IN KANSAS
Only a few days left to get your Kansas deer hunting license & permits. Last day to apply is April 24th. I have 3-4 spots available for the exciting gun season Dec 8th thru Dec 14th. Come hunt with me in 'The Land of Giants' on privately managed...
April 14 at 10:51 pm | 41 Views
Wanted anything Dan Wesson.
Wanted anything Dan Wesson.
Looking for revolvers anything Dan Wesson, thanks please call Will at 919-937-7687...
April 16 at 5:04 pm | 16 Views
1998 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4x4
1998 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4x4
Very good condition 1998 Jeep Wrangler Sport. It has been very wellrnkept. It appears to have always been garaged and only driven on cityrnstreets and not been offroaded. This Jeep was owned and cared for by arnperson who appreciated nice things....
Yesterday at 5:06 pm | 16 Views
Brand New Carbon Express Cross Bow
Brand New Carbon Express Cross Bow
This is a brand new bow in the box never been opened never been fired. It is a Carbon Express X-Force 400 Cross Bow. It is a complete package with Rope Cocker and Rail Lube, 4x32 Deluxe Scope, Quick detach 3 arrow quiver, 3 20' crossbolts and 3...
April 15 at 7:38 pm | 37 Views