Releases – August 31, 2017
The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission wants to adopt temporary management measures for estuarine striped bass in most of the central and southern coastal areas of the state.
Last week, the commission voted to ask the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality secretary to authorize it to develop a supplement to the Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan to make temporary management changes in the Central-Southern Management Area, excluding the Cape Fear River system.
Specifically, the commission asked to: (1) reduce the annual commercial quota from 25,000 pounds to 2,500 pounds; (2) lower the recreational daily bag limit from 2 fish per day to 1 fish per day; and (3) increase the recreational size limit to a 24-inch to 26-inch slot. The current minimum size limit is 18 inches with no possession of fish between 22 inches and 27 inches.
The commission also decided to delay review of the full Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan, which began this year, to no earlier than 2019. This was made contingent upon approval of a supplement.
Other decisions regarding the fishery management plan schedule were to:
(1) Continue review of the Blue Crab plan, currently in process;
(2) Begin review of the Southern Flounder plan as soon as the peer reviewed stock assessment is completed, which is expected to be later this year or in early 2018;
(3) Begin review of the Shrimp plan as soon as a state study on bycatch reduction devices in the shrimp trawl fishery is completed, but no later than February 2018;
(4) Begin review of the Spotted Seatrout plan in 2019;
(5) Begin review of the Bay Scallop, River Herring, Interjurisdictional, Kingfishes, and Striped Mullet plans in 2020;
(6) Accept the Division of Marine Fisheries’ annual update on red drum, which cites an Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission red drum stock assessment and management plan, as the formal statutory review of the North Carolina Red Drum plan, and slate a new review of the Red Drum plan for 2022;
(7) Begin review of the Hard Clam and Oyster plans in 2022.
In other business, the commission voted to: (1) elect Chuck Laughridge as vice chairman; and (2) make 1,500 Standard Commercial Fishing Licenses available through the Division of Marine Fisheries’ eligibility pool for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
The 39th Annual U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament is right around the corner. This year’s tournament will be October 5-7 at the Southport Marina. The U.S. Open is one of the largest king mackerel tournaments on the East Coast.
In 2016, the tournament attracted 464 boats and paid out over $250,000. The tournament has an all cash guaranteed prize structure that is not based on participation numbers. The tournament pays 55 places in its primary prize category, including $25,000 for the largest king mackerel. Thirty-five sponsors, such as the Primary Sponsor—Southport Marina—and Grand Patron sponsors—BEMC & Garmin—add 36 more supplementary cash prizes to the event.
Two notable prizes include the Daily Aggregate Weight Prizes and Junior Angler Awards. The Daily Aggregate Weight Prizes are sponsored by SeaTow and Dosher Memorial Hospital. Each day a $1,000 Aggregate Prize will be given to the boat that catches the most poundage from combining the weights from two or three fish. The Aggregate Prize will be part of the Primary Prize Category.
During the Awards Ceremony, the Junior Angler Awards (sponsored by Orpine Boat Soap and Dutchman Creek Bait & Tackle) will be presented to all Junior Anglers (children age 14 and under). Every registered Junior Angler present at the ceremony will receive an award to recognize those young anglers in the tournament. In addition, Junior Anglers will compete for Junior Angler Aggregate Prizes sponsored by LPM Homes.
New for 2017 is the return of the SKA (Southern Kingfish Association) and the creation of a Senior Angler Aggregate Prize (sponsored by Dutchman Creek Bait & Tackle).
If you can’t make it to the tournament, make sure you check out PointClickFish.com streaming weigh-ins at the scales live from the tournament on Friday from 2:00 pm-5:00 pm and Saturday from 2:00 pm-4:00 pm. You can pick up the link to the live feed from the tournament website at www.usopenkmt.com.
This year’s tournament will host registration on Thursday, October 5, from 10:00 am until midnight.
Tournament details are available on the website, www.usopenkmt.com, or for a brochure contact the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce, 4433 Long Beach Road, SE, Southport, NC 28461. You can also call (910) 457-5787 or (800) 457-6964, or you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation and The Reel Outdoors are sponsoring the 15th annual Gordie McAdams Speckled Trout Surf Fishing Tournament.
The tournament will run from 8:00 am on Saturday, October 14, through November 25, 2017. Registration is free, and The Reel Outdoors will be providing prizes for the top three anglers.
Registration is September 12-October 12.
The Reel Outdoors is the official weigh-in station. All trout must be caught by fishing on foot (surf, pier, inlet, sound) from Fort Macon to Emerald Isle; no boats.
Complete rules are available on the back of the registration form, which will be available on September 12 at The Reel Outdoors or the Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation Community Center.
Registration forms and rules may also be downloaded at www.emeraldisle-nc.org/eiprd. Please contact Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation for further information or questions at (252) 354-6350.
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) called on Congress to address the unique challenges of federal saltwater recreational fisheries management as it considers reauthorizing the nation’s primary law governing federal saltwater fisheries management.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing yesterday at Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna, Alaska, titled: “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges.”
“While overfishing is now at an all-time low, in many fisheries that has not translated into improved fishing access for recreational fishermen,” said ASA’s Chief Marketing Officer Liz Ogilvie, who testified on ASA’s behalf. “This is believed to be a result of a management system that fails to recognize that commercial and recreational fishing are fundamentally different activities.”
Also testifying at the hearing on the challenges of federal saltwater recreational fisheries management were Ben Speciale, president of the Yamaha Marine Group, and Spud Woodward, director of the Coastal Resources Division at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The recreational fishing community has articulated the changes it would like to see to the Magnuson-Stevens Act through legislation already introduced in the Congress. On July 10, 2017, Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced S. 1520, the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017.
A companion bill, H.R. 2023, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 6, by Reps. Garret Graves (R-La.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.).
“Since its original passage in 1976 and through subsequent reauthorizations, the Magnuson-Stevens Act has never focused specifically on addressing the unique challenges of federal saltwater recreational fisheries management,” said Ogilvie. “We hope Congress will use the current reauthorization process as an opportunity to address this historic inequity, and ASA believes passage of the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act would be a tremendous step toward this goal.
“By recognizing recreational fishing as an important and distinct activity, Congress and NOAA Fisheries can go a long way toward creating an environment in which saltwater recreational fishing’s many benefits to the nation are fully realized,” Ogilvie concluded.
Ogilvie’s full written testimony can be found at www.asafishing.org.