How It’s Supposed to Work


This past week the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission’s (MFC) Northern, Southern, and Finfish Advisory Committees (ACs) all met. There were no hot button action items on the agenda but nonetheless there was some good conversation during these meetings. The past two MFC meetings were summarized and discussed, upcoming fisheries management plans (FMPs), the striped mullet supplement, and getting things working once again like they are supposed to be.


The Advisory Committees of course talked a good bit about flounder, they had some good discussion on the hard to swallow striped mullet supplement, and they heard a short overview about the upcoming speckled trout FMP (the stock assessment on speckled trout is saying overfishing is occurring, a free heads up!)


But to me to the single biggest point that was brought up during these meetings was getting things back working the way they are supposed to! Our system is broken. The Advisory Committees have become little more than just fulfilling a legal requirement while most of their opinions and votes are not even considered by the very MFC who votes in and appoints people to the ACs.


How it’s supposed to work is clearly stated on the NC Division of Marine Fisheries’ (DMF) website


“The MFC Advisory Committees provide insights and comments directly to the commission for consideration during their decision-making process. All advisors are appointed by the MFC Chairman and serve three-year terms. There are five statutorily required Advisory Committees that fall into two categories. The MFC Chairman also convenes committees to assist in the development of fishery management plans, and to deal with emerging issues as the commission deems necessary.”


Multiple Advisory Committee members stated that their views and opinions are no longer valued. AC members stated how in years past at least one or two MFC Commissioners would always be listening into these advisory committee meetings, but now having even just one attend a meeting is a rare occurrence.


Advisory Committee members stated how the public no longer had faith in the system and their comments were not listened to by the members of the MFC. An employee of DMF agreed and said a common complaint they regularly hear is that the MFC no longer values or even listens to their opinions. One long term AC member even stated that he was no longer telling people he served on an Advisory Committee because people were berating him for the decisions and votes made by the MFC, when in actuality he and the Advisory Committee voted opposite of what the MFC decided! 


How has this system gotten so broken? Why have our supposed representatives on the MFC gotten so detached from the public? Why have they not listened to their chosen Advisory Committee members?


Well, the NC Division of Marine Fisheries and the state is trying to change all this. NC Governor Roy Cooper (who chooses the MFC members) has chosen 4 new commissioners (out of a total of 9) to the MFC that do not check the typical boxes like most previous commissioners have. I believe these new MFC Commissioners are hope for change.


I personally think it is a good thing to get some new faces on the MFC and I think it is truly going to take some fresh, open-minded people to really listen to the issues at hand and actually make an educated vote. 


Here’s hoping for the best!


I hope these new Commissioners will listen to each and every public comment. I hope they will ask questions. I hope they will let people who have intimate knowledge about specific issues speak longer than 3 minutes and ask them questions at meetings! I hope they will read and understand the papers the DMF works so hard to put together. I hope some of the longer serving Commissioners will also indulge in some of these fundamentals that every appointed public servant should be doing!


Specifically speaking about the MFC’s own Advisory Committees, I hope the Commissioners begin to work with and actually interact with these Advisory Committee Members! The Governor has chosen new MFC Commissioners to try to break this disconnect. The DMF staff has stated at these meetings last week that they are trying to once again bring together the MFC and the ACs. 


The Advisory Committee Members are passionate about the fisheries in our great state of North Carolina. If they were not, they would not volunteer their time! These AC members are supposed to be the arms and the legs of the MFC. They are serving to give guidance to the MFC. The ACs are also a bridge from the public to the MFC.  The AC members are there to lessen the gap between the fisheries participants and the management/science. The AC members help translate what the public is seeing on the water into usable management measures.


 The Marine Fisheries Commissioners and the MFC Advisory Committees are all appointed public servant positions. Their time is your time. I encourage anyone and everyone to reach out to these people. And I highly encourage members of the MFC to reach out to your Advisory Committee Members! After all, you appointed them to advise you!


Reach out to the AC members.


Reach out to the MFC Commissioners.



Thomas Newman 

Fisheries Liaison


Northern Advisory Committee Member







Last week I forgot to list one other coastal legislative district. Only one, but since the district includes:


Beaufort, Dare, Hyde and Pamlico Counties, it’s rather important to fishing communities.


However, Keith Kidwell is unopposed. And although he’s unopposed, I figured I’d better list because he’s slightly bigger than me!


Also, below is a link to the entire coastal races. The formatting gets messed up when pasting into Constant Contact so if you click on the link, you’ll be able to read it more clearly.


District 79: Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico (newly drawn district)

REPUBLICAN Keith Kidwell is the incumbent and is unopposed.



God bless,








Listed below are the candidates for the General Election on November 8th. Early voting begins on October 20th and ends November 5th.


The races listed are only for coastal counties. Keep in mind that these are NEW districts, so be sure to

make note of the counties listed in the new districts. If you are unsure of what district you’re in, contact Jerry Schill by text, phone or email and we’ll get that info to you asap. Include your name as listed by voter registration and your physical address. 252-361-3015



US SENATE: For the seat currently held by Richard Burr who is not running. GREEN: Matthew Hoh

DEMOCRAT:Cheri Beasley, Raleigh LIBERTARIAN: Shannon Bray, Apex REPUBLICAN: Ted Budd, Advance


US HOUSE DISTRICTS: Listed are only those districts that include coastal counties, which are 3 & 7.


US HOUSE, DISTRICT 3: District includes the coastal counties of Currituck and Camden thru Onslow


DEMOCRAT: Barbara Gaskins, Washington REPUBLICAN: Greg Murphy, Incumbent


US HOUSE, DISTRICT 7: District includes Pender, New Hanover and Brunswick.

DEMOCRAT: Charles Graham

REPUBLICAN: David Rouzer, Wilmington, Incumbent




District 1: Includes Carteret, Chowan, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Washington. Republican Norman Sanderson won the primary and has no opposition in November.


District 2: Includes Beaufort, Craven, Lenoir

Republican Jim Perry from Kinston is the incumbent and has no opposition.


District 3: This newly drawn district includes Bertie, Camden, Currituck, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Martin,

Northampton, Tyrell, Warren. DEMOCRAT: Valerie Jordan, Warrenton

REPUBLICAN: Bobby Hanig, Powells Point (Formerly in the House.)


District 6: Onslow.

DEMOCRAT: Marcia Morgan

REPUBLICAN Mike Lazzara of Jacksonville, is the incumbent



District 7: includes part of New Hanover

DEMOCRAT: Jason Minnicozzi, Wilmington REPUBLICAN: Mike Lee, incumbent, Wilmington


District 8: includes Brunswick, Columbus, part of New Hanover

REPUBLICAN Bill Rabon of Winnabow is the incumbent and is unopposed.



District 1: Chowan, Currituck, Dare (Part), Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington REPUBLICAN: Ed Goodwin is the incumbent and is unopposed.


District 3: Most of Craven

REPUBLICAN Steve Tyson is the incumbent and is unopposed.


District 13: Carteret and part of Craven (incumbent Pat McElraft is not running.)

DEMOCRAT: Katie Tomberlin, Newport REPUBLICAN: Celeste Cairns, Emerald Isle


District 14: part of Onslow;

DEMOCRAT: Ike Johnson, Jacksonville

REPUBLICAN: George Cleveland, Jacksonville is the incumbent


District 15: part of Onslow;

DEMOCRAT: Christopher Schulte, Richlands REPUBLICAN: Phil Shepard, Jacksonville is the incumbent


District 16: part of Onslow & Pender

REPUBLICAN Carson Smith of Hampstead is the incumbent and is unopposed.


District 17: part of Brunswick

DEMOCRAT: Eric Terashima, Leland

REPUBLICAN: Frank Iler, Shallotte is the incumbent


District 18: part of New Hanover

DEMOCRAT: Deb Butler, Wilmington is the incumbent REPUBLICAN: John Hinnant, Wilmington


District 19: part of Brunswick and part of New Hanover

REPUBLICAN: Charlie Miller is the incumbent and is unopposed.


District 20: part of New Hanover

DEMOCRAT: Amy Block Deloach, Wilmington REPUBLICAN: Ted Davis, Wilmington is the incumbent


District 79: Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico (newly drawn district)

REPUBLICAN Keith Kidwell is the incumbent and is unopposed.