Oregon Inlet trawls cause second round of striped bass kills

Craig Holt

February 07, 2011 at 2:12 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Dead striped bass litter the surface of the Atlantic Ocean Feb. 3 after being killed by trawl boats
Dead striped bass litter the surface of the Atlantic Ocean Feb. 3 after being killed by trawl boats
For the second time in less than a month, commercial trawl boats last week killed and dumped either (a) hundreds or (b) thousands of dead striped bass off the Outer Banks.
Different reports of the kill total are in disagreement.

In either case, taking advantage of a two-day re-opening of the trawl netting season by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, the trawlers swept through schools of striped bass Feb. 3-4 off the northern beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Last Thursday (Feb. 3), they left hundreds (or thousands) of dead fish in their wake, in violation of a DMF proclamation created in January. To read a post about this on the Offshore Fishing Forum or to leave a comment click here.

On Jan. 20, DMF Executive Director Louis Daniel changed commercial fishing regulations after huge striped bass discards by trawlers, who littered the ocean with dead fish Jan. 15-16 near Oregon Inlet. Instead of a 50-biggest-fish haul, Daniel’s proclamation legalized a 2,000-pound trip limit per boat and transfer of excess, legal-size fish from one trawl boat to another on the water.

“It is incumbent upon all fishermen — commercial and recreational – to use common sense in the way they fish,” noted a DMF news release at the time. “Commercial trawl fishermen should limit their tow times to avoid overburdened nets. Recreational fishermen should practice ethical angling techniques. Fishing responsibly today will help ensure there will be fish in the future.”

It appears the North Carolina-based trawl fleet paid little attention to Daniel’s words.

DMF Public Information Officer Tricia Smith said Daniel was frustrated with the actions of the trawl fleet. But, she said, no one with the DMF’s Marine Patrol issued tickets for the apparent high-grading and discarding of legal or undersized striped bass (which remains legal).

Apparently there also is disagreement about the number of stripers killed. Smith said Marine Patrol officers counted 251 total dead stripers in the latest carnage, 200 by a helicopter survey and 51 washed ashore at Pea Island on Thursday (Feb. 3) plus 25 on Friday (Feb. 4).

“The highest concentration was from one-half mile (south of Oregon Inlet) to 1 1/2 miles from the ‘Boiler’ at Pea Island,” she said.

The Feb. 3 aerial survey lasted 75 minutes, she said.

Smith also noted many of the fish were “undersize” (legal length 28 inches). DMF regulations call for undersized stripers to be returned to the ocean, no matter their condition.

“(What the officers saw) appeared to be indicative of culling from trawl-fishing activities, but 60 percent were under the legal size limit,” Smith said.

However, in an Internet story about the latest striper kill, a different observer in a separate helicopter said he saw “thousands” of dead stripers covering an area of ocean 1- to 1 1/2- miles wide by 3- to 5-miles long, before the DMF chopper arrived.

A charterboat captain in the same story said he’d picked up many striped bass much larger than the 28-inch-long legal limit, some weighing as much as 38 pounds.

Ironically, the DMF, in reporting January’s trawler striper kills, said it also counted 250 dead stripers on the ocean. However, recreational fishing-boat witnesses reported many more floating dead or injured fish.

Smith said Daniel may pose a “hook-and-line commercial fishery” recommendation for striped bass, which would eliminate the discard kills caused by trawling. The topic will be discussed Thursday and Friday (Feb. 10-11) at the MFC meeting in Pine Knoll Shores at the Clam Digger Inn.


Local charterboat captains are reluctant to talk about the kill because, said Oregon Inlet Fishing Center official Bambi Scarborough, “many of them are commercial fishermen, as well, and live here.”

One charterboat skipper, contacted upon Scarborough’s recommendation but who wished to remain anonymous, said, “I don’t want to talk about that (fish kill). I ain’t got nothin’ to say to nobody about it.”

When asked if he felt he would be threatened or harassed by local commercial fishermen if he talked about what he’d witnessed Feb. 3, the captain said, “No, but I ain’t talking to you about this.”


View other articles written Craig Holt


Reports / Forum
Take a tree stand, please  This report contains photos  
April 20 at 1:21 pm | 843 Views | 0 Comments
Heaviest bird yet  This report contains photos  
April 19 at 9:31 am | 799 Views | 0 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 8:03 pm | 721 Views | 2 Comments
Catawba Catfish Club Lake Wateree,SC 5-3-14 Tournament 
April 19 at 5:15 pm | 701 Views | 0 Comments
Double with Golden  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 7:45 pm | 601 Views | 0 Comments
weyerhaeuser hunting land 
April 19 at 2:12 pm | 553 Views | 0 Comments
GT and Viper 
April 21 at 7:46 pm | 513 Views | 4 Comments
First turkey and with a bow!  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 3:29 pm | 437 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
April 18 at 6:15 am | 373 Views | 0 Comments
Golden Wings  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 7:42 pm | 369 Views | 0 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
April 18 at 10:59 am | 337 Views | 0 Comments
Cold, Rainy and Windy Tough on Fishing 
April 20 at 2:23 pm | 321 Views | 0 Comments
Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 9:18 am | 279 Views | 0 Comments
taking the boat and 2 year old out(high rock lake) 
April 19 at 1:55 pm | 247 Views | 0 Comments
Tagged Out!  This report contains photos  
17 hours ago | 195 Views | 0 Comments
First Gobbler!  This report contains photos  
17 hours ago | 157 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
GT and Viper 
April 21 at 7:46 pm | 513 Views | 4 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 8:03 pm | 721 Views | 2 Comments
Tagged Out!  This report contains photos  
17 hours ago | 195 Views | 0 Comments
First Gobbler!  This report contains photos  
17 hours ago | 157 Views | 0 Comments
Golden Wings  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 7:42 pm | 369 Views | 0 Comments
First turkey and with a bow!  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 3:29 pm | 437 Views | 0 Comments
Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 9:18 am | 279 Views | 0 Comments
Cold, Rainy and Windy Tough on Fishing 
April 20 at 2:23 pm | 321 Views | 0 Comments
Take a tree stand, please  This report contains photos  
April 20 at 1:21 pm | 843 Views | 0 Comments
Catawba Catfish Club Lake Wateree,SC 5-3-14 Tournament 
April 19 at 5:15 pm | 701 Views | 0 Comments
weyerhaeuser hunting land 
April 19 at 2:12 pm | 553 Views | 0 Comments
taking the boat and 2 year old out(high rock lake) 
April 19 at 1:55 pm | 247 Views | 0 Comments
Heaviest bird yet  This report contains photos  
April 19 at 9:31 am | 799 Views | 0 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
April 18 at 10:59 am | 337 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
April 18 at 6:15 am | 373 Views | 0 Comments
Double with Golden  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 7:45 pm | 601 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
Tagged Out!  This report contains photos  
17 hours ago | 195 Views | 0 Comments
First Gobbler!  This report contains photos  
17 hours ago | 157 Views | 0 Comments
GT and Viper 
April 21 at 7:46 pm | 513 Views | 4 Comments
Double with Golden  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 7:45 pm | 601 Views | 0 Comments
Golden Wings  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 7:42 pm | 369 Views | 0 Comments
First turkey and with a bow!  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 3:29 pm | 437 Views | 0 Comments
Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 9:18 am | 279 Views | 0 Comments
Cold, Rainy and Windy Tough on Fishing 
April 20 at 2:23 pm | 321 Views | 0 Comments
Take a tree stand, please  This report contains photos  
April 20 at 1:21 pm | 843 Views | 0 Comments
Catawba Catfish Club Lake Wateree,SC 5-3-14 Tournament 
April 19 at 5:15 pm | 701 Views | 0 Comments
weyerhaeuser hunting land 
April 19 at 2:12 pm | 553 Views | 0 Comments
taking the boat and 2 year old out(high rock lake) 
April 19 at 1:55 pm | 247 Views | 0 Comments
Heaviest bird yet  This report contains photos  
April 19 at 9:31 am | 799 Views | 0 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
April 18 at 10:59 am | 337 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
April 18 at 6:15 am | 373 Views | 0 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 8:03 pm | 721 Views | 2 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum

Free Classifieds

MDBR Hunting Club has 4 openings!
MDBR Hunting Club has 4 openings!
MDBR Hunting Club is a small 10 member club with a 350 acre lease near Gulf, NC (Chatham County). No Dog Hunting in Chatham county! Very peaceful area! Membership dues pay for lease & insurance. Anyone interested should visit our website at...
April 22 at 1:41 pm | 33 Views
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Excellent Desert Eagle 40 caliber Hand Gun For Sale,6 ' barrel,semi rnrnautomatic,& made by Magnum Research,right here in the USA,& comes with 1-7 rnrnround magazine, super heavy duty fitted carry case with soft rummer rnrninside,take down...
April 20 at 3:13 am | 39 Views
Still Hunting Deer Club
Still Hunting Deer Club
Membership available in still hunting deer club for the 2014-15 season. Club has almost 4,000 acres of leased land and owns 55 acres with a two story club house. Club is located in Warren county about 5 miles from Littleton. Club dues are $725.00....
April 21 at 7:43 am | 120 Views
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Excellent Desert Eagle 40 caliber Hand Gun For Sale,6 ' barrel,semi rnrnautomatic,& made by Magnum Research,right here in the USA,& comes with 1-7 rnrnround magazine, super heavy duty fitted carry case with soft rummer rnrninside,take down...
April 20 at 3:18 am | 62 Views
NEW REMINGTON 870 TACTICAL/ULTIMATE COMBAT SHOTGUN
NEW REMINGTON 870 TACTICAL/ULTIMATE COMBAT SHOTGUN
This new 870 was built for one purpose to save your life or your family's. It has form function and reliability. Has a Mesa Tactical recoil reducing 6 position stock. There is no felt recoil even with 3 inch buck plus the stock is comfortable in...
Yesterday at 12:46 pm | 25 Views
G3 Gator Tough 1860 CC Tunnel
G3 Gator Tough 1860 CC Tunnel
70hp Yamaha 4 stroke with 6' jack plate, only 25 hours. 2012 custom fit float on/off trailer w/removable tongue, Mossy oak W/ Bimini top. Fish finder, GPS, 55lb Min Kota trolling motor, live well, cooler bench seat with leaning post, two lockable...
April 19 at 11:35 am | 163 Views