Fish Post

Releases – Winter 2019-2020

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Another casualty of climate change will likely be shoreline recreational fishing, according to new research from North Carolina State University and Oregon State University. The study finds some regions of the U.S. may benefit from increasing temperatures, but those benefits will be more than offset by declines in fishing elsewhere.

“If there are not significant efforts to curtail climate change, we’re looking at declines in recreational fishing participation of around 15% by 2080,” says Roger von Haefen, co-author of the study and a professor of agricultural and resource economics at NC State.

“We also want to stress that this study looks solely at how changes in temperature and precipitation are likely to affect people’s willingness to go fishing from the shore,” von Haefen says. “This work doesn’t get at shifts in fish populations, water quality impacts, or other climate-related changes that could affect recreational fishing demand.”

To examine this issue, the researchers looked at shoreline recreational fishing data from 2004 through 2009, encompassing all Atlantic coast states, as well as Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Specifically, the researchers examined how different temperature and precipitation conditions impacted decisions to participate in recreational fishing.

They found that temperature did affect people’s willingness to go fishing, but that the relationship wasn’t linear. In other words, temperature extremes (hot or cold) tended to reduce participation relative to an “ideal” 75° F day.

“Going from chilly to balmy weather can stimulate more recreation, and our data and models bear that out,” says Steven Dundas, corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor of applied economics at Oregon State. “But increasing temperature when it’s already hot can curtail fishing participation. For example, we estimate participation declines once daily high temperatures reach the mid-90s Fahrenheit.”

The researchers incorporated this data into a simulation model of recreational behavior. They then coupled their estimates with forecasts from 132 general circulation models, each of which predicts future weather under different greenhouse gas reduction scenarios.

“If the world adopts stringent climate change mitigation efforts, we predict a 2.6% decline in fishing participation by 2080,” Dundas says. “That’s the overall best-case scenario.”

“Worst-case scenario, we see participation drop 15% by 2080. It could drop by 3.4% in the next 30 years, and by 9.9% as early as 2050.”

“It’s important to note that this decline won’t be evenly spread across states,” von Haefen says. “Cooler areas, such as New England, may see increases in fishing, especially during the ‘shoulder’ seasons–early spring and late autumn. But hotter states, like those in the Southeast and Gulf regions, will experience significant summertime declines that will likely offset those gains.

“In addition, some people who still fish on hot days may shift the time of day when they fish. For example, our results suggest that people fish more in the early mornings and at night to avoid extreme heat.”

The paper “The Effects of Weather on Recreational Fishing Demand and Adaptation: Implications for a Changing Climate” is published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. The work was done with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch Multi-State Project W-4133.

Press release courtesy of Matt Shipman, NC State University

 

Bryan Eure is the Marine Patrol Officer of the Year, and with nearly 24 years’ experience, he is also one of the most seasoned officers on the force.

He is the person many of his fellow officers, even supervisors, go to when they have a question or need advice.

“He is dedicated and knowledgeable, and he is a mentor to other officers,” said Marine Patrol Col. Carter Witten.

The wealth of guidance Eure has given over the years is one of the reasons his colleagues nominated him for the North Carolina Wildlife Federations’ Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards Marine Patrol Officer of the Year. Eure received the award at the Marine Fisheries Commission meeting in Beaufort.

Eure is also known for his attention to safety issues and attention to detail.

“He’s that guy that’s going to say, ‘Watch out for that power line!’ or ‘Watch out for that log in the water!’,” said Marine Patrol Major Jason Walker.

And this attention to detail is reflected in his law enforcement investigations.

“Bryan makes sure that every element of an offense is thoroughly investigated and proven before he makes a charge,” Walker said.

Eure started his career in law enforcement in the area where he grew up with the Roanoke Rapids Police Department in Halifax County, but his love of the outdoors attracted him to a different kind of policing with Marine Patrol.

“It was a good fit, combining my love for the coastal area with my experience in law enforcement,” Eure said.

He works in the Wrightsville Beach area and in other areas of New Hanover County enforcing gear regulations and size and creel limits, conducting license and dealer inspections, patrolling waters for potential violations, monitoring polluted and nursery areas, and more.

On July 4, 2018, Eure may very well have saved the life of a boater who had been struck in the leg by a boat prop. Eure applied a tourniquet until paramedics arrived, an act for which he later received the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Humanitarian Award.

Also, Eure was part of a team of Marine Patrol officers who aided emergency services with search and rescue efforts during flooding from Hurricane Florence.

Off the water, Eure provides law enforcement expertise on an internal Division of Marine Fisheries team that reviews and develops marine fisheries rules.

Eure lives in Wilmington with his wife, Krystal, and sons, Emil and Joshua.

 

North Carolina now officially owns dozens of acres of undeveloped oceanfront property that will be added to the Bird Island Coastal Reserve.

Deeds to 35 acres of land stretching between the west-end of West Main Street in Sunset Beach and Bird Island changed hands Nov. 8.

The $2.5 million purchase, approved in mid-September by the North Carolina Council of State, ends years of fighting to keep the property building free.

“That whole tract of land will be natural coastline forever now,” Sunset Beach property owner Sue Weddle said. “That’s so rare, so unique, and it is so special.”

The additional land will give the public direct access to the now more than 1,500-acre reserve. Visitors have had to walk the oceanfront to get to the reserve.

Weddle, who has owned property on the island for more than 35 years, routinely walks the undeveloped western end of the island.

“The word that keeps coming to my mind is that it is glorious,” she said of the area.

She has been part of a group of Sunset Beach property owners who’ve fought for years to prevent the land from being developed.

 

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission is moving forward with management measures for the blue crab fishery designed to end overfishing and achieve sustainable harvest.

The commission last week selected management measures for the draft Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan Amendment 3. The draft amendment will now be sent for departmental review.

Some of the selected management measures would: (1) Implement a closed season (which will replace the current pot closure period) Jan. 1-31 north of the Highway 58 Bridge to Emerald Isle, and March 1-15 south of the Highway 58 Bridge; (2) Implement a 6.75-inch size limit for mature female crabs north of the Highway 58 bridge; (3) Prohibit the harvest of immature female hard crabs statewide; (4) Expand the existing spawning sanctuaries in Drum Inlet and Barden Inlet; (5) Establish new spawning sanctuaries in Beaufort, Bogue, Bear, Browns, New River, Topsail, Rich, Mason, Masonboro, Carolina Beach, Cape Fear River, Shallotte, Lockwood Folly and Tubbs inlets with a March 1-Oct. 31 closure; and (6) Prohibit crab trawls in areas where shrimp trawls are already prohibited in the Pamlico, Pungo, and Neuse rivers.

Reductions in harvest are necessary because a recent North Carolina stock assessment for blue crab determined the stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring. Overfished means the population is too small. Overfishing means the removal rate is too high. North Carolina law mandates that fishery management plans include measures to end overfishing within two years of adoption and rebuild the stock to achieve sustainable harvest within 10 years of adoption. The options addressing sustainable harvest are predicted to reduce harvest by 3.1% meeting the mandated reductions.

The Marine Fisheries Commission is scheduled to consider final adoption of the draft Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan Amendment 3 in February 2020. Approved management measures will be implemented shortly afterward by proclamation.