DECEMBER 19TH @ 1:00 CANCELLED The N.C. Commercial Fishing Resource Funding Committee will meet jointly with the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Committee at 1 p.m. Dec. 19 at the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Washington Regional Office, 943 Washington Square Mall, Washington. The two committees are scheduled to review and vote on recurring funding opportunities from the Commercial Fishing Resource Fund.
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a public scoping period Jan. 7-21, 2020 to solicit public comments on potential management strategies for an upcoming amendment to the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan.
Management strategies to further reduce bycatch of non-target species in the shrimp trawl fishery and potential changes to existing shrimp management strategies are being examined.
Fisheries stakeholders can provide in-person comments at three scoping meetings that will be held:
Jan. 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Washington Regional Office 943 Washington Square Mall, Washington
Jan. 13 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office 5285 Highway 70 West, Morehead City
Jan. 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Wilmington regional office 127 Cardinal Drive Extension, Wilmington
Beginning Jan. 7, comments can also be submitted through the division's website with an online form or by mail. A news release will be issued closer to the scoping period providing details on how the public can participate.
SOUTHERN FLOUNDER Amendment 3 Scoping Period The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a public scoping period Dec. 4-18 to solicit public comments on potential management strategies for Amendment 3. The primary management strategy for Amendment 3 is long-term sustainable harvest in the southern flounder fishery.
Fisheries stakeholders can provide in-person comments at two scoping meetings that will be held:
Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office 5285 Highway 70 West, Morehead City
December 11 @ 6pm NC Department of Environmental Quality 127 Cardinal Drive Extension, Washington
Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. Dare County Government Complex Commissioners Meeting Room 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr., Manteo
Beginning Dec. 4, comments can also be submitted through the division's website through an online form or by mail. A news release will be issued closer to the scoping period providing details on how the public can participate. A scoping document outlining the potential management strategies has been developed for the public.
LETTER SENT TO NCDMF BY NCWU
December 16, 2019
The North Carolina Watermen United (NCWU) has sent Comments many, many times regarding the Southern Flounder issue. Again, we are submitting our Comments on behalf of our Board of Directors and our many fishermen who are involved in the Southern Flounder fishery.
A thread consistently running through all of our correspondence is our belief that the fishery may not be over-fished because of many factors –
In May 2015, we asked that no action be taken because two of the three assessors in the Peer Review for the stock assessment rejected it.
Also in 2015, One of our Board Members compiled these facts -
From 2004 through 2013, the 10-year average landings of southern flounder were just over 2 million pounds.
From 2004 to 2009, fishermen were allowed to catch and set flounder nets 365 days per year.
Beginning in 2009-2010, a new regulation restricted large mesh nets to 40 hours per week. Over half the state was restricted to 4 days per week with night time soaks only.
In 2011, there were only 1.2 million pounds caught by commercial fishermen.
In 2013 there were close to 2.2 million pounds caught by commercial fishermen.
In 2013, southern flounder landings in Dare County were 1.3 million pounds.
In 2013, from June 1 to November 30, there were only 70 days in which large mesh nets were able to be used from Oregon Inlet down to South Carolina. Fishermen could only set nets 4 days per week. Plus, there was a 2-month closure during this time frame to all large mesh nets.
The point being, the largest body of water in the state had only 70 days that allowed fishermen to use nets for southern flounder in 2013, and still the commercial landings exceeded the 10-year average by 200,000 pounds, even though half of the 10-year average had allowed flounder fishing with nets 365 days per year.
In 2014, southern flounder landings went down to 1.66 million pounds because the state shut down fishing with large mesh nets during peak flounder fishing times, in peak areas.
In 2014, from Currituck and Albemarle Sounds south to the SC line, there were only 82 days open to set large mesh gill nets for flounder.
In summary, more southern flounder are being caught with much less fishing time. The southern flounder fishery management plan cannot compare landings from years ago when fishermen could fish 365 days a year, and in 2015, only half of the state’s coastal areas allowed flounder nets to be used 70 days per year. Even the NC State Biologist disagreed with the MFC about a depletion of southern flounder.
All of the above information came from the NCDMF statistics office and from NCDMF Proclamations that show a marked decrease in fishing time. By proof from NCDMF Proclamations, southern flounder are underfished now more than ever, NOT overfished.
In April 2019, we opposed any action being taken by the Marine Fisheries Commission on DRAFT Amendment 2 that was consequently passed at the June 2019 MFC Meeting without any attention to the advice from the Southern Flounder Advisory Committee. The adoption of this Amendment put severe restrictions and shortened time limits for all-gear types in the fishery beginning in 2019. The fishery was also closed for all December 2019.
In June 2019. The Commercial Resource Funding Committee approved almost $400,000 for GPS Tagging of southern flounder to study biomass and migration patterns of southern flounder; the study is now in progress. We ask that this data be included in any discussions and the adoption of any new regulations for the fishery.
We are asking that good, reliable statistics about the southern flounder fishery be used in making all subsequent decisions. We are also asking that the Catch Per Unit (CPU) be used in making biomass assessments since the gear types have been restricted severely, and the number of southern flounder fishermen may be decreased from previous years.
Yours truly, Perry Wood Beasley Perry Wood Beasley Board of Directors 252-706-0184 Andrew Berry Billy Maxwell Capt Sonny Davis Greg Mayer PWB: mm Ernie Doshier Jamie Reibel Ernie Foster Britt Shackelford Tom Harper Duke Spencer Glen Hopkins Rom Whitaker cc: Secretary Regan, DEQ Deputy John Nicholson, DEQ Chairman Bizzell, MFC NCGA