Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Candidate Perdue's Answers to RFA Questionaire on Recreational Fishing

RFA-NC Fisheries Questionnaire, (Recreational Fishing Alliance, NC Chapter)
The following questions were addressed to NC Gubernatorial Candidates, Mayor Pat McCrory and Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue:

The following are "Candidate Perdue's" answers to the following questions.....

1) Given the known ecological importance of our near shore, inshore and estuarine bottom habitat and the problem of by-catch of non-target species from the use of trawls and gill nets, would you support programs to reduce use of gear that is shown to destroy inshore fishery habitat or that results in unacceptable by-catch of non-target fish or juvenile stages of aquatic life?

Our inshore habitat is our aquatic nursery so I would support programs to reduce use of gear that is shown to destroy inshore fishery habitat or that results in unacceptable by-catch of non-target fish or juvenile stages of aquatic life. We must be good stewards of our juvenile fish, allowing them to grow and reproduce so they will be of use to our commercial and recreational fishermen.

2) Would you help secure funding for a program within the State of North Carolina to develop and maintain the use of large scale oyster, clam and fin fish hatcheries for stock enhancement and aquaculture, which would reduce pressure on wild-fish stocks and augment rebuilding of certain fisheries, while creating jobs for troubled commercial fishermen?

Our commercial fishermen are facing new regulations from the state and federal authorities that do not allow them to conduct business as they historically have. Plus, with the increase in fuel prices and the reduction in the number of fish houses due to development, they are faced with monumental challenges for survival. These fishermen have the knowledge of the fisheries that will greatly reduce the learning curve for them to enter aquatic farming. I believe our state should provide incentives for them to become part of this type of venture, both on a resource and financial level.

3) Would you make appointments to the Marine Fisheries Commission and to the Joint
Legislative Committee on Seafood and Aquaculture based upon the public interest and
qualifications of the candidates to benefit the state as a whole, rather than to represent special interest or as favors to political supporters ?

As I am sure you know, the Governor appoints all nine members of the Marine Fisheries Commission, and also appoints its Chairman. I will expect and demand that those I appoint to serve without any agenda and preconceived notion on how things should be. I will demand that they listen to an issue, share what knowledge they have, and formulate a decision that is best for the resource. I am sure, too, that you know the Governor appoints 4 of the 15 members of the Seafood and Aquaculture Committee. These four will have an interest in the resource and serve in an unbiased, opened minded matter that best serves the resource.

4) Would you support using funds generated through the sale of the Coastal Recreational
Fishing License to promote recreational fishing opportunities including programs for the aggressive development of inshore and near-shore artificial reefs and programs to create and restore marine aquatic habitats?


5) As Governor, you would have the ability to open and amend the Fisheries Reform Act, which has not been updated since its passage over ten years ago... Would you open a review of this act?

If there is a clear and present need to open this, or any act, for review, I would do so.

6) As an immediate act of "good faith” would you grant the North Carolina State Fish, the Red Drum, game fish status, which would eliminate sale of Red Drum in North Carolina?

This is an idea that I would consider.

7) North Carolina’s commercial and recreational fishermen are an important part of our states’ history, economy and way of life. Will you support research to develop and implement "sustainable harvest methods” and "fishery habitat creation and restoration” techniques, to include involvement of the people who...

A) Know the water and fish the best;
B) Have the experience and equipment to conduct work in our sounds and rivers;
C) Need new employment in the face of escalating operational costs, depleted fish
Stocks, and tumbling fish markets... COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN?

I believe that A and B are best done through the Division of Marine fisheries. They have the knowledge and support to best care for the future of all fisheries.

I personally have a lot of concern for the plight of the commercial fishermen. High gas prices and low seafood prices have put them in a financial bind. And, historically, when a lot of these fishermen were not fishing, they were working in construction. And we all know what has happened to the housing market. I will support initiatives through our community college system that would help retrain, those wanting to be retrained, into a new vocation.

8) Do you think a voluntary “commercial fishing license buy-out” based upon a commercial
fisherman’s past involvement in commercial fishing activities and the level of income derived from commercial fishing has merit and should be considered, in a fashion similar to the “tobacco farmer buy-out” ?

I never say no to any concept without first fully exploring it. But I do have a problem with a “buy out” that is associated with a public trust resource. The first thing we need to do is to define what a “commercial fishermen” is. Then we can better look at the full impact of this concept.

As of this date, Governor Perdue has totally ignored two attempts by the CFRG to request her position on our NC Fishery issues of concern, and her position on H918. Perhaps "Candidate Perdue" and "Governor Perdue" have different opinions?