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    Rep. Darrell McCormick championed the gamefish status bill in the N.C. legislature last year, but it eventually died during the short summer session.

    Gamefish bill sponsor laments fate of his legislation

    Rep. Darrell McCormick (R-Yadkin), former co-chair of the state legislature’s 16-member Committee on Marine Resources, said his attempt to keep the gamefish-status bill (H 353) alive was the toughest legislative battle he’s ever faced, and he was taken aback by the lack of support of several key members of his own party.

    The bill died in committee during the 2012 short session that ended in July.
    July 29, 2012 at 1:15pm
    Dolphin were the No. 1 fish for recreational anglers in North Carolina waters in 2011, with 3.5 million pounds hitting the docks.

    Commercial fishermen continue to take most of North Carolina's saltwater bounty

    North Carolina’s commercial and recreational fishermen saw harvests decline slightly in 2011, but for-profit fishing continued to lead all landings by weight and income by a large margin.
    June 18, 2012 at 8:11am
    Members of the legislature's Committee on Marine Resources voted for further study of a possible merger of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries -- both of which manage striped bass.

    Legislative committee puts merger talks on hold

    The state legislature’s Committee on Marine Resources met for a fourth and final time April 5 to study legislative proposals to present to the General Assembly when it meets again for its short session in May.

    However, the committee dropped a bombshell when the most important proposal on the meeting’s agenda – to merge the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission — was converted into another passive topic for future study.
    April 05, 2012 at 3:34pm
    The state legislature's Committee on Marine Resources will hold its final public hearing on Thursday, April 5, to discuss issues related to saltwater resource management.

    Legislature's Marine Resouces Committee's final meeting is April 5

    The N.C. General Assembly’s Committee on Marine Resources will hold its final open-to-the-public meeting April 5 at Raleigh in the Legislative Office Building, Room 643, 1 p.m.
    April 02, 2012 at 11:50am
    Gamefish protection of speckled trout, along with redfish and stripers, is not going to be addressed by the North Carolina Committee on Marine Fisheries, according to one of the committee members.

    Gamefish bill apparently headed to House; no discussion at latest committee meeting

    No news was apparently good news at the latest meeting today (March 1) of the Legislative Research Commission Committee on Marine Fisheries.

    Discussion of the proposed gamefish-status bill, House Bill 353, was not on the agenda, and the bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Darrell McCormick (R-Yadkin), wasn’t even in attendance – he was reported to be under the weather, back home in Yadkinville – at the meeting in Raleigh.
    March 01, 2012 at 4:56pm
    The Coastal Fisheries Reform Group has announced it will seek a total gill-net ban along the North Carolina coast because the state Legislature has refused to act on proposed gamefish status for red drum and speckled trout.

    Fisheries group calls for total gill-net ban, cites legislative inaction on gamefish bill

    The Coastal Fisheries Reform Group declared last week its intent to seek a total gill-net ban in North Carolina coastal waters.

    The notice came in a news release that cited inaction on the part of the state legislature on a bill that would give gamefish status to spotted seatrout, striped bass and red drum, plus inaction on the part of the legislature’s Committee on Marine Resources. CFRG also cites inaction on the part of the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission to approve measures to conserve and protect certain saltwater fish species.
    February 29, 2012 at 12:40pm
    A strike-netter goes past a recreational angler’s boat Feb. 4 in Onslow County's Stones Creek before closing off the creek to fishing by hook-and-line anglers.

    Angler: Stones Creek netting incident shows lack of respect, portends trouble

    Robert Patterson of Jacksonville is used to swimming against the tide.

    That’s evident because it doesn’t take long to find out he and his wife are huge fans of North Carolina State — but both of them are East Carolina graduates.

    Today, Patterson might be seen as a maverick for a larger cause, one that he’s worried may escalate with serious results: He isn’t sure if some commercial netters aren’t becoming more emboldened because they think their small segment of the net-for-profit business is going to disappear or if it’s just business as usual.
    February 22, 2012 at 1:34pm
    Rep. Darrell McCormick (background), co-chairman of the Legislature’s Committee on Marine Resources, listens as DMF director Louis Daniel III answers a question during a Raleigh public hearing. McCormick will speak at a recreational-fishing group’s fundraiser Feb. 25 in Swansboro.

    McCormick to speak at Swansboro fundraiser for gamefish fight

    Representative Darrell McCormick, co-chair of the North Carolina Legislature’s Committee on Marine Resources, will be the keynote speaker during a Feb. 25 event to raise money for the fight to change the state’s saltwater fisheries management and better reflect the value of recreational fishing. The event will be held in Swansboro.
    February 21, 2012 at 5:19pm
    River herring crashed because of mismanagement by the NCMRC even as state biologists warned continued commercial netting was detrimental, and at least one recreational angler says he fears the same thing could happen with speckled trout.

    Mismanagement of river herring warns of NCMFC's commercial bias, veteran rec angler says

    As commercial and recreational saltwater fishing interests duke out their positions online and at meetings of the legislature’s Committee on Marine Resources, Ray Brown of Goldsboro remains one of the most eloquent speakers on behalf of coastal resources.

    Brown worries that the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission hasn’t learned from one of its most-egregious mistakes – allowing river herring to disappear – and may be on the road to repeating it with speckled trout.
    February 15, 2012 at 9:31am
    Securing gamefish status for red drum, speckled trout and stripers is vital to ensuring the health of North Carolina coastal communities, Topsail Island realtor Dean Phillips says.

    Coastal realtor says gamefish status key to coastal counties' survival

    The way Dean Phillips of Topsail Island sees it, fish availability is the horseshoe nail, the linchpin to the survival of most of North Carolina’s coastal counties, which is to say saltwater fish are crucial to the lives of a majority of coastal residents.

    “(In) my county, Pender, it’s just absolutely the thing that ties everything together,” said Phillips, who lives at Topsail Island and works in the family business, Surf City’s Landmark Real Estate.
    February 06, 2012 at 1:27pm
    Tackle sales to recreational anglers not only lifts the coastal economy, but reaches far inland to help out North Carolina tackle shops.

    Healthy inshore fisheries will boost coastal and inland businesses, tackle shop owners say

    While few people doubt the positive influence of healthy inshore saltwater fisheries on coastal businesses, not many stop to realize they also would benefit many inland businesses.

    There is also a pronounced tendency to underestimate the degree of the influence, especially to businesses well inland from the coast. Owners of several tackle shops were adamant that their economic viability should be included in discussions as legislators consider the option of granting gamefish status to speckled trout, red drum and striped bass.
    February 06, 2012 at 11:17am
    Angler Ray Brown of Colerain told legislators during yesterday's Committee on Marine Fisheries meeting that gamefish protection of red drum, speckled trout and striped bass would encourage the already important recreational fishing industry.

    Experience is ‘sole reason hundreds of thousand go fishing every year,’ saltwater fisheries management review committee told

    The state legislature's Committee on Marine Fisheries met for the second time on Thursday (Feb. 2) this time to hear comments from stakeholders in the saltwater fishing industry.

    Speakers gave their testimonies about the troubled state of North Carolina’s saltwater resources, the management of those resources by a state agency (the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission) and how proposed changes will affect the state’s economy, their lives and the lives of coastal residents.
    February 03, 2012 at 4:13pm
    Even the study used by Gov. Bev Perdue to support commercial fishing shows recreational fishing is far more important to the state's economy.

    Study used by Perdue shows recreational fishing more important than commercial fishing

    Statistics that Gov. Bev Perdue used to try and convince the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue the dredging of Oregon Inlet last year provides plenty of fodder for those supporting changes in the way North Carolina manages its saltwater fisheries resources.

    The plea by Perdue actually shows recreational saltwater fishing is far more important to the state's economy than commercial fishing, which strengthens the argument for protection of red drum, speckled trout and stripers by granting those species gamefish status.
    February 02, 2012 at 12:33pm
    Rob Beglin, a guide and IFA redfish pro from Pawley's Island, S.C., won't return to North Carolina to fish any tournaments as long as it's legal for commercial netters to take redfish.

    Visiting fishermen say gamefish protection would benefit coastal tourism and economies

    Even in the current depressed economy, fishermen plan their vacations around catching fish. It’s the opinion of many fishermen that North Carolina is losing out on plenty of tourist dollars that could wind up in the state’s economy if the legislature designates red drum, speckled trout and striped bass as gamefish.
    January 26, 2012 at 11:08am
    North Carolina can enjoy a world-class saltwater fishery if management practices are changed to protect the species like redfish, speckled trout and stripers that once were so popular all along the coast, one former commercial fisherman said.

    Ex-commercial angler: North Carolina needs to chart new saltwater course

    Charles Brown of Gloucester hails from a fifth-generation Down East fishing family, and proudly proclaims, “I’ve done it all.”

    “All” includes dredging for shrimp and oysters, crabbing, setting gill and pound nets for flounder, and working as a deckhand on an ocean-going scallop boat. He also worked 18 months as a handyman for the National Park Service at Core Banks until a freak accident in 2000 nearly killed him. He’s also been a waterfowl guide, like his father, grandfather. uncles and great uncles.
    January 17, 2012 at 9:29am
    Joe Albea of Greenville has been a crusader for coastal resources for many years, and he's now pushing for changes in the management of redfish, speckled trout and stripers fisheries in North Carolina.<br />

    Albea: North Carolina can fix what’s wrong with saltwater management

    Joe Albea, 57, remembers when Pamlico Sound was full of big croakers and gray trout, along with many other species.

    “Croakers and gray trout were the two breadwinners in the sound back in the ’70s,” said Albea, a Greenville native who produces and hosts two UNC-TV shows: Carolina Outdoor Journal and Exploring Carolina. “Fishing was great for recreational and commercial anglers then, but we didn’t have the big trawlers out there.”
    January 13, 2012 at 8:36am