The internet can be a very enlightening tool at times. It amazes me when I read comments from those who are opposed to commercial fishermen. When they post on certain sites that are known for their anti-commercial fishing rhetoric, there are no fish left in the ocean. The sky is falling, and those bad commercial fishermen are to blame. At times they go so far as mention specific names as the boogeymen that are to blame for their “crisis” in North Carolina’s fisheries. However, some of those critics also have fishing businesses with their own websites, and if you take the time to read what they have to say, it’s 180 degrees different from what they’re saying on their anti-commercial sites with their conspiratorial buddies.
For example, Tom Roller has been a frequent contributor to a site that has been highly critical of commercial fishing in general and of the North Carolina Fisheries Association in particular. Tom owns Waterdog Guide Service and has his own website as well. Over several months he rails about how bad things are in our state and why regulations need to be changed or we’ll have nothing in the water to catch. In a documentary in 2015 where he advocates for more regulations on commercial fishing, he states that “our waters are declining, and they’re declining greatly.” He said he easily caught 10 southern flounder a day in the past, and now they’re almost gone.
On a blog he started in 2014, he gives this background:
Capt. Tom Roller is a full time inshore fishing guide based out of Beaufort, North Carolina. He has spent the last 15 years advocating for better fisheries management in North Carolina and the removal of destructive fishing gears like estuarine gill nets.
NC fisheries management is overflowing with corruption at the hands of commercial fishing interests, their lobbyists and their language of misinformation. This site aims to help expose these mistruths. This site is dedicated to the transparency of the politics and news within North Carolina State marine fisheries. Our intent is to notify citizens of important issues that pertain to marine fisheries management in North Carolina.
He recently posted this though, on his website:
2017 remains one of the best all around inshore fishing years of my career – excellent speckled trout, red drum of all sizes (from rats to slots to the old drum) and a respectable flounder fishing. I’ve fished literally every second I could and have included some pics from a couple of my “Busman’s holidays.” BTW – excellent topwater speckled trout bite lately! And drum! Do not miss out, come down and experience some of North Carolina’s best inshore fishing in years with one of the crystal coast’s most experienced guides (16 years of full time experience).
So we went from a tremendous decline in fisheries in 2014/2015 to “. . . one of the best all around inshore fishing years of my career . . .” in a mere two years!
The moral of this story is be diligent when you read all of the anti-commercial fishing rhetoric. Don’t just drink the Kool Aid . . . do your homework!
Brent Fulcher, Chairman
North Carolina Fisheries Association Board of Directors