Wednesday, May 20, 2009

CFRG Suggests MFC Revisit Petition Requests as Interim Rules for Spotted Sea Trout

In January the CFRG presented a "Petition for Rule Making" to the NCMFC encouraging measures to reduce fishing pressures on the Spotted Sea Trout (SST) from both recreational and commercial fishermen. We would propose that the MFC consider the merits of the petition even though some technicality in the document was present, but never identified. Regardless, we encourage the MFC to consider the following common sense ideas as "interim" rules to protect the Spotted Sea Trout.

We believed then and now that the recreational creel limit should be reduced from ten (10) fish per day to six (6), and additional protective measures by increasing the minimum legal size from twelve (12) inches to fifteen (15) inches. We also recommend allowing the harvest of only one fish that would exceed 25 inches in length. These three measures combined will result in at least a forty percent reduction of recreational harvest, but could be much greater with the unknown effect of reduction with the increase in size limit, and the one "slot" fish allotment. We believe a fifty to sixty percent reduction in recreational harvest could easily result.

We also believe that the enforcement of these interim rules along with better patrols both day and night to prevent netting for these fish in "Inland" creeks are also necessary steps in reduction of overfishing. The issue of Strike Netting and night-time gigging of Spotted Sea Trout in Primary and Secondary Nursery areas and winter sanctuary creeks is a justifiable topic for concern and we would also recommend the ending of these harvest methods in these designated areas during Winter months until the MFC can conclude its current Spotted Sea Trout Fishery Management Plan.