Monday, January 24, 2011

NC Striper Slaughter; The Untold Numbers and Video!

According to the NC Division of Marine Fisheries, on Saturday, January 15th, 2011, the NC commercial trawling vessel "Jamie Lynn" from NC accidentally netted between 3 to 4 thousand Striped Bass. The haul was so large that the captain of the ship decided to "dump" or release all of the fish except the 50 he was legally allowed to keep. Since that day, the internet and public media has been flooded with photos like the one above, and video like this

What has not gotten much attention though is the overlooked math that this event produces, and the ultimate reward that was given to the very fishermen who caused all this waste. Lets look at the "math" a little more closely:

4,000 Stripers Killed in one pull by one trawler on one day
Multiply that by the poundage of one mature Striper, lets say, 20 pounds average

4,000 X 20 pounds = 80,000 pounds!

Now we have one boat, on one pull, on one day, that kills 80,000 pounds of mature stripers!

Why is this math important? NC commercial fishermen are restricted to a total annual harvest of 480,480 pounds of Striped Bass. This limit is set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which is a governing body that oversees fish like Striped Bass that migrate up and down the Atlantic Seaboard, and are shared by multiple coastal states.

Of that 480,480 pounds that NC is allowed for annual harvest, only 160,660 pounds of that is allowable by the commercial trawling fleet. So, in one day, one trawler, on one pull, killed 50% (fifty percent) of the total allowable harvest for the trawling fleet here in NC! Of that 80,000 pounds of dead Striper, the boat only kept 50 fish, and dumped and estimated 79,000 pounds of Striped Bass back into the ocean!

Now this is the story that the NC DMF isn't telling. That it was one boat, and an "isolated" incident. But that is not what seasoned commercial captains are saying. They are saying that this is a reoccurring event on the outer banks each winter, and that this year there were many more eyes on the water to witness it. Many of these captains are professional charter boat operators, and many have seen enough of the wanton waste that this trawl fishery produces!

In one pull, this trawler not only killed 50% of the allowable catch for trawlers, it also killed over 20% of the total allowable Striper harvest for all commercial methods!

The Striped Bass is of tremendous economic importance to much of the Atlantic coastal states. If the ASMFC has agreed to allow NC commercial fishermen to harvest 480,480 pounds of Striped Bass, and trawlers kill 80,000 pounds of fish to keep 1,000 pounds, what will the final tally on wasted dead stripers be when the carnage is over?

Now the daily limit of 50 fish for these trawlers has been replaced with a 2,000 pound per day limit. Those 50 fish they were keeping must have weighed 40 pounds a piece? And what about the by-catch they can't keep? The minimum size limit is 28 inches. How many 28 inch fish will be killed in the process?

How much waste will be created by 10, 20, or 50 trawlers?

Once again, NC fisheries management is the laughing stock of the entire nation. You have to laugh to keep from crying!

Please contact the following people who can help change the laws to insure this never happens again:
NC Marine Fisheries Commissioners can all be emailed at this link

Email NC Governor Beverly Perdue,

Email NC Division of Marine Fisheries Director, Louis Daniel,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Video of Cold Stunned Speckled Trout in NC

Fishing for Speckled Trout was ended today due to the second "cold stun" event in NC coastal waters in the last 12 months. See the video at the following link....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

NCDMF Director Louis Daniel Shuts Down Speckled Trout Harvest Due to Cold Stun Kill

By "proclamation" Dr. Louis Daniel, NCDMF Director, shut down all harvest of Spotted Sea Trout statewide in response to the extended bitter cold weather and subsequent killing and stunning of trout. The CFRG applauds Dr. Daniel and his staff for taking this proactive measure to protect remaining fish to spawn this summer. We hope the Marine Fisheries Commission, who will have the final say on this proclamation, will support Dr. Daniel's position, and leave the moratorium in place until the end of spawning season this fall. Please see the proclamation below:

N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Release: Immediate Contact: Patricia Smith

Date: Jan. 12, 2011 Phone: (252) 726-7021 or (252) 342-0642

State to Close Spotted Seatrout Harvest Due to Cold Stun Events

MOREHEAD CITY – North Carolina will close all coastal waters to commercial and recreational spotted seatrout harvest for an indefinite period beginning at noon Friday.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Director Louis Daniel issued a proclamation today implementing the closure, after consulting with N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Chairman Rob Bizzell.

The action is being taken in response to recent cold stun events in Rose Bay, Juniper Bay, Pungo River, Campbell Creek, Turnigan Bay, Spooners Creek and other waters. The intent of the closure is to prevent the harvest of vulnerable cold stunned fish, which may recover with warming temperatures.

“On the heels of two cold stun events, one in 2010 and now in 2011, and pretty large commercial and recreational catch rates in 2009, I believe this is the best thing for the fishery,” Daniel said.

In approving the Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan in November, the Marine Fisheries Commission authorized Daniel to temporarily close harvest in the event of a cold stun event. The commission will review the closure and consider extending it at is Feb. 11 meeting in Pine Knoll Shores.

For more information, contact division biologist Beth Burns at (252) 473-5734, extension 221, or

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CFRG Requests Immediate Statewide Closure to Speckled Trout Harvest

The following email was sent to Dr. Louis Daniel, Director of the NC Division of Marine Fisheries today:

Dear Dr. Daniel,

The Coastal Fisheries Reform Group is requesting an immediate statewide closure of fishing for Spotted Sea Trout. Substantiated reports of thousands of dead and dying trout are coming in from all areas of our coastal waters. DMF staff has documented many of these events. These current events coupled with the major event we experienced hardly twelve months ago magnifies the need to protect remaining fish from further harvest. Anything less than a statewide closure will create increased fishing pressure in areas that would remain open to harvest.

Your immediate attention to this matter will be greatly appreciated by all North Carolina saltwater anglers.

Dean Phillips

Coastal Fisheries Reform Group