NCFA Board and Staff wish to congratulate commercial fishermen, Heath Fulcher, Jonathan Fulcher, Tyler Brewer and the crew onboard fishing vessel Natural for catching the first 500+ pound Blue Marlin during the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in Morehead City.  The Marlin weighed 521.6 pounds and was caught on the second day of the tournament. The prize for this fish brought the boat a total of $828,750.00.  If this fish continues to hold as lead, Natural could walk away with a top prize of $2.51 million!!!  Way to go Guys!!! We are very proud of you!!





Although nothing fish-related was on the agenda at the General Assembly again this week, I was assisted with my lobbying efforts by grandson Luke Midgett of Manteo. Luke is 16 and the son of Butch and Sarah Midgett. He accompanied me a few years ago but was shorter than me then. Not so this time.

The week started by Luke listening in on a webinar meeting of the Joint Northern and Southern Advisory Committees Tuesday evening to discuss and make recommendations to the Marine Fisheries Commission on Amendment 2 to the Shrimp FMP.  I logged on at 5:30 and after presentations by Division of Marine Fisheries staff, it was 8:00 till they got to the public comment part of the meeting. After listening for 2 hours, the two of us who signed up for public comment were given 3 minutes each.

The take away from the presentations and the staff answers to committee members was the lack of adequate data. The lack of data was cited quite a few times during the presentation and in answering questions, yet the other charge to the advisors from Division staff was this: “Status quo is not an option”. So the bottom line is, ABSENT ADEQUATE DATA, REGULATE, REGULATE, REGULATE!

The message I gave the advisors was simply that they are engaged in a political exercise, not one of conservation and regardless of what you do, this issue will never go away until the CCA and the Wildlife Federation realize their goal of eliminating not only shrimp trawls, but all nets. The goal should be to GET the data that is needed, not continue to restrict and kill the industry by a thousand cuts.

You can imagine then, what the message was when Luke and I got to the General Assembly. On a positive note, Luke advised the legislators that he worked part time at Wanchese Fish Company. He headed shrimp, helped to grade and pack shrimp and pack fish. It was obvious that he enjoyed that work and was quite proud of it. I was a proud Grandpa knowing that we have young folks not afraid to do manual labor. While we had some very good conversations with his legislators, Senator Bob Steinburg and Representative Bobby Hanig, he also got some fashion tips on how to dress for success.

Finally, you may have heard some news accounts of the net ban bill by Representative Billy Richardson. Some outlets, at least one TV station, has falsely reported that the issue of a net ban in North Carolina will be on the ballot in the general election of 2022. That is absolutely false and is very shoddy reporting! The bill was referred to the House Rules Committee and hasn’t even had a hearing! Not only does it have to make it through the House committees, it then would have to be voted on and approved by the full House and then go through the same process in the Senate! It’s not going to happen, at least not this bill, this year! I know that WCTI TV 12 in New Bern made this error but if you know of any others, please let us know.

God bless,