With the ink barely dry on the settlement with the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital, and with new gill net restrictions in place, the NC Division of Marine Fisheries shut down the large mesh gill net fishery in Core Sound today. This came as a result of too many sea turtle entanglements that resulted in the death of four sea turtles. Dr Louis Daniel issued a proclamation today declaring the season closed until September 1, 2010.
Why didn't the new restrictions work? Why didn't the shallower nets of only 15 meshes, with no floats, and shorter shots of only 100 yards not protect these endangered turtles? Why aren't these gill nets target specific as their proponents argue on their behalf?
The answer is simple, and all of us who live here on the NC Coast know it; gill nets are indiscriminate, underwater walls of death, and the only answer to stopping by-catch (by-kill) is the removal of gill nets from our coastal waters forever!
It is time for North Carolina to join South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas in the 21st century and end this archaic and inhumane method of fishing in our coastal waters! How much more can we tolerate? When will the citizens of NC stand up and say enough is enough.
How much longer can NC Senator Marc Basnight and his cronies protect this insanity?
Gill nets have no place in modern day commercial fishing! The time has come for their end here in North Carolina, period!