Last week, on March 15,16, and 17th, the Northern Regional, Southern Regional, and Finfish Advisory Committees (AC’s) met to make recommendations, for the Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) to consider, on Amendment 2 to the Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP)!
There was very little public comment, about a half dozen each night, with the NCFA being the only fisheries group offering comments. We focused on a single issue, allowing the use of gillnets above the ferry lines in the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers, which the MFC chose to remove from the draft Amendment before allowing public or AC input.
As we mentioned, in last week’s newsletter, the MFC prohibited the use of all gillnets above the Neuse and Pamlico ferries, in 2019, through an “emergency meeting”, with no public comment allowed. In an effort to further censor the public and their own Advisory Committees, the MFC removed all options that would allow the use of gillnets in these areas, from the draft Amendment, leaving only one option up for consideration, maintaining the net ban!
Despite the efforts of the MFC, prior to and during the AC meetings, to prevent this issue from being discussed, all three committees discussed the possibility of allowing the use of gillnets above the ferry lines.
Two committees, the Northern Regional and Southern Regional, approved motions to recommend that the MFC, once again, allow the use of gillnets above the ferries in the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers, with the same policies that were in place prior to the 2019 net ban. The finfish committee, on the other hand, was evenly split on the issue and ultimately made no recommendation to the MFC regarding the use of gill nets in these areas.
Marine Fisheries Commission member Tom Roller, who chairs the Finfish Committee, made every effort to prevent that committee from discussing any options that weren’t in the draft Amendment but was met by dissention from other committee members. I’m not sure if this impacted the votes but it certainly made for and interesting and at times contentious meeting.
The Finfish Committee ultimately made two motions on this issue, one in favor of maintaining the net ban and one to remove the ban, both of which failed with tie votes of 5 in favor, 5 opposed, and 1 abstention.
Again, the only recommendations made to the MFC in regards to the use of gillnets above the Neuse and Pamlico River ferry lines, were in support of the use of gillnets in these areas. Now that the AC’s have made their recommendations, it’s time for anyone who supports seafood harvesters and consumers to weigh in on this issue.
Since the adoption of the Neuse and Pamlico net bans in 2019, it has been the position of the NCFA, that the actions of the MFC were unnecessary and not supported by science. This position was supported by former
DMF Director Steve Murphey, in his letter to the MFC and former Secretary of DEQ Michael Regan in a public press release condemning the actions of the MFC.
To my knowledge this is the only time a sitting Secretary of DEQ has publicly condemned an action of the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission!
Now it’s time for the public to do the same, by demanding that the MFC right this wrong. We encourage everyone who reads this to request that the “MFC allow the use of gillnets above the ferry lines in the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers, with the same policies that were in place prior to the 2019 net ban, in these areas.”
Please mail your comments to:
Draft Estuarine Striped Bass FMP Amendment 2 Comments, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City NC 28557
Comments must be received by 5pm April 1, 2022
You can also email your comments to the NCFA through Aundrea (email@example.com) and we will mail them for you.
We encourage everyone to spread this message far and wide, thanks for your support.
NCFA- Executive Director
CLICK or COPY LINK BELOW TO READ DIRECTOR’S LETTER
The below press release was issued in 2019
Contact: Megan S. Thorpe
Date: March 14, 2019
Secretary Regan’s Statement on Marine Fisheries
RALEIGH — N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael S. Regan issued the following statement on the emergency meeting called by the Marine Fisheries Commission this week:
I am disappointed by the Marine Fisheries Commission calling an emergency meeting with only 48 hours notice for a non-emergency. The Commission used bad judgment in directing the Division of Marine Fisheries Director to take actions that contradict science and the recommendations of the division’s scientists. I certainly hope this is not a precedent we will see again from this Commission.
The statute empowering the Marine Fisheries Commission to direct issuance of gill net bans in certain areas does not authorize the Secretary or the Department discretion to overturn such a directive.
SOUTHERN SHRIMP ALLIANCE TO HOLD NCFA MEMBER MEETING
WHEN: MARCH 23, 2022
WHERE: FAIRFIELD INN & SUITES BY MARRIOTT
2090 W. 15TH STREET, WASHINGTON, NC 27889
TIME: 9 AM-10:30 AM
ALL NCFA MEMBERS ARE ENCOURAGE TO ATTEND
Twenty years ago, the American shrimp industry joined together to combat unfairly traded shrimp imports from Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Thailand, and Vietnam. The industry successfully obtained antidumping duties on shrimp imports from these countries in February 2005. On a five-year recurring cycle, the U.S. industry is required to prove to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission that these duties remain important and should remain in place. The third such cycle will begin in a couple of months. Unless the industry participates in this proceeding — a “sunset review” — the remaining antidumping duties on shrimp imported from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam will be revoked.
At the meeting, the Southern Shrimp Alliance will:
- explain the sunset review process;
- describe the information needed from industry members;
- summarize trends with imported shrimp and detail the impact of these imports on prices for domestic shrimp; and
- provide an overview of additional initiatives that the industry is taking to address unfairly-traded imports.
In addition, SSA will provide an update on fishery management issues and report on the most recent shrimp landings data available for the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic.
Congressman Don Young, Republican from Alaska, died last Friday at the age of 88 while traveling home to Alaska. He was in Congress since 1973 and was very involved with legislation that involved fisheries.
NCFA members, Board and staff offers condolences and prayers to his family, Alaska’s fishing families and Alaska residents.