A couple of comments were made at the North Carolina Marine
Fisheries Commission last week that I felt needed further reflection. The
first was a comment made by Director Steve Murphey during his Director's
Report regarding a recent post on NC Waterman, a popular online chat room
for discussion of fisheries management politics, about the recipients of
Hurricane Florence disaster relief funds. The post identified by name
several of the largest recipients of those taxpayer funded payments. When
making his point that the data was not released by the Division, the Director cited NC General Statute
113-170.3 that makes all information about individual commercial landings
data and revenue confidential .
According to CCA NC General Counsel, Dr. Tim Nifong, the NC Public
Records statute, on the other hand, "is one of the so-called
'sunshine laws' aimed at promoting transparent and open government. The
Public Records law sets the floor--what must be released as public
records--and not the ceiling--what can be released. That is, beyond those
records it must disclose as a matter of law, an agency can choose to
release any government record it wants, and once that has happened, as
here in the release of the information on the hurricane assistance
recipients, it is clearly a public record even if it was once
Beyond the legality of the release of the information, how
public funds are spent is core public information. In the
social media post, Cooke Seafood, an international, multi-billion dollar
corporation, was identified as the single largest recipient of Hurricane
Florence assistance monies. Are the taxpayers of North Carolina not
entitled to know that Cooke Seafood received over $400,000 in disaster
assistance? Surely the Legislature would be interested in a full
accounting of how the commercial fishing disaster relief money was spent?
The second thought that has been stuck in my head was a seemingly
innocent comment by Commission Chairman Rob Bizzell at the conclusion of
the meeting on Friday afternoon. Chairman Bizzell let the other
commissioners know that he was considering eliminating the Wednesday
night public comment period because of low participation by the public.
By my count, only five people made public comment on Wednesday night. Some
commissioners do not even feel it is worthy of their time to attend the
Wednesday night session. See the empty seat in the picture below.
Doing away with the Wednesday night public comment period would certainly
save the Commission some time and money but it would also further
alienate an already skeptical public by eliminating the only time when a
working member of the public has the opportunity to address the
Commission without missing work. With all due respect to the Chairman and
the taxpayer's dime, it makes better sense to encourage more
participation in our fisheries management process instead of looking for
ways to further erode the public's confidence in the process. The
Chairman might also consider encouraging commissioners to take a little
more interest in the public's input. Beyond the commissioners who don't
even show up, some others could be encouraged to at least act like they care
what a member of the public is saying when they take the time to prepare
comments and attend the meeting.
One final suggestion would be for the Chairman to consider some
flexibility on the three-minute time limit for the handful of people that
do take the time to prepare and attend the public comment period.
Especially considering that some of the speakers represent larger groups
whose members may not be able to attend the meetings but rely on their
representatives to show up and express their concerns. An extra
30-seconds for someone to finish his or her thoughts is not going to drag
out the proceedings. Commissioners would still have been able to make
their 6:30 dinner reservations even if all five of the speakers Wednesday
night had been granted an extra minute to finish their comments.
The 2nd Annual CCA NC Virtual Banquet is
live through Friday, December 6th at 12:00 pm.
Several new items have been added already
this week including fishing rods and combos from our great sponsors like
Star Rods and Big Rock Sports, Punglico Custom Rods, Temple Fork Outfitters,
and Custom Marine Fabrication. Also added was this cool two-piece print
from Florida artist David Danforth, beautifully framed by Cable's Frame
House in Raleigh. Plus, 13' Tri-Kayak from Custom Marine Fabrication -
with foldout pontoons for extra stability while fishing or just
We have many items that will make great Christmas gifts for that hard to
buy for person in your life! Where else can you find a truly
weatherproof, outdoor coffee table hand-crafted from juniper and
You can log on to the website to bid from the comfort of your home or
office at: https://CCANC2019.givesmart.com
Or, you can text CCANC2019 to 76278 (SMART) to bid from
your smart phone and never miss a bid.
We will continue adding new items frequently over the next three weeks so
be sure to check back frequently.
This will also be the last opportunity to purchase a raffle ticket for
our 2019 CCA NC Ultimate Outdoors Package raffle. When the Banquet closes,
so does your opportunity to win!
So, get ready to log on to bid from the comfort of your home or
office at: https://CCANC2019.givesmart.com
Or, text CCANC2019 to 76278 (SMART) from your phone to join
in on the fun!
And Thanks for your Support of our Second Annual Virtual Banquet!
The Salt Water
Sportsman National Seminar Series returns to New Bern on Saturday,
February 1. The 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. event will be held at the New Bern
Riverfront Convention Center.
George Poveromo - Host of George Poveromo's World of
Saltwater Fishing on the Discovery Channel, and Contributing Editor for
Salt Water Sportsman, will headline the program, along with co-host, "Crazy" Alberto Knie -
Legendary shallow water and land-based fishing specialist at catching
trophy redfish, flounder, trout and tarpon!
Joining Poveromo and
Knie will be:
Captain Ray Brittain - Premier light-tackle inshore pro
specializing in catching speckled trout and red drum on artificials in
the New River and Topsail Island waters, with Spring Tide Guide Service!
Captain Mark Chambers - Noted offshore pro with 25 years
experience in catching tunas, wahoo, dolphin, marlin and swordfish off
Morehead City, with Due South
Captain Gary Dubiel - Veteran light-tackle/fly-fishing guide
specializing in catching trophy red drum within the lower Neuse River and
Pamlico Sound, and red drum, striped bass and sea trout within the Neuse
and Trent River systems, with Spec
Fever Guide Service!
Captain John Cawthern - Innovative specialist at offshore bottom/wreck
fishing and vertical jigging off the Morehead City/Beaufort/Cape Lookout
region, with Procastinator
Captain Jot Owens - Innovative authority on catching trophy
sea trout, red drum and flounder, and wreck- and bottom-fishing for
cobia, groupers and snappers off North Carolina!
Captain John Mallette - Renowned pro at catching bottom fish and
offshore pelagics off the North Carolina coast, with Pelagic Hunter Sportfishing!
Captain Mike Goodwine- Renowned Florida-based guide
specializing in catching trophy redfish, sea trout, flounder and
tripletail with Blackneck Adventures
Natalia Frost - Morehead City-based offshore fishing
specialist who excels at trolling for wahoo, tunas, dolphin and billfish,
as well as deep-dropping for swordfish!
Harry Vernon III - Premier South Florida-based offshore
trolling, live-baiting, and bottom fishing authority!
Captain David Wicker -
Wilmington, North Carolina-based king mackerel tournament pro and
specialist at using marine electronics to locate and catch more fish!
Captain Alan Wenzel - South Florida-based authority on
offshore live-baiting and trolling as well as conventional- and deep-drop
Topics for the New Bern
seminar will focus on inshore, near shore and offshore fishing, all
saltwater and all related to the region. Featured species to include
redfish, flounder, trout, striped bass, king mackerel, cobia, groupers,
sea bass, dolphin, wahoo, tunas and swordfish.
The Seminar Series
begins at 9:00 a.m. and will conclude by 3:00 p.m. There is a one-hour
break at noon. Long considered the best bargain in sportfishing, a
Seminar Series ticket is only $ 55.00.
THE SWAG - The ticket price covers five hours of
instruction from the best pros in the business, a course textbook, a
one-year subscription or extension to Salt Water Sportsman, one Roffer's
Ocean Fishing Forecast Analysis, bottle of OrPine Wash & Wax, bottle
of Star tron fuel treatment,bottle of Star brite Extreme Clean, bottle of
Corrosion Block, a $ 10.00 discount card off any purchase of $ 75.00 or
more from Bass Pro Shops, and chances to win thousands of dollars' worth
of door prizes! The Grand Prize at the conclusion of the New Bern seminar
is a Florida Keys fishing trip with one of several premier guides.
The Super Grand Prize,
to be awarded two weeks after the conclusion of the 2020 series, is a new
Mako Pro Skiff 17 cc.
HOW TO REGISTER - Get your tickets now, to avoid a
sellout. To pay with Visa, MasterCard and American Express, call (800)
448-7360, or to register on-line, visit: www.nationalseminarseries.com
TUESDAYS, NOVEMBER 26 THROUGH DECEMBER 10, SEA
GRANT NORTH CAROLINA, INTRODUCTORY NC MARINE FISHERIES MANAGEMENT FOR
FISHERMEN. This course provides an overview of the
process of North Carolina's marine fisheries management. All who work,
play and live along the coast are wecome. For more information, contact Scott Baker at 910-962-2492 or email@example.com.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9 AT 6:00 PM, NC DMF PUBLIC SCOPING MEETING
AT NC DMF CENTRAL OFFICE, 5285 HWY70 WEST, MOREHEAD CITY, NC.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17 AT 6:00 PM AT DARE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OFFICE, 945 MARSHALL C COLLINS DRIVE, MANTEO, NC.
To inform the public
the review of the Southern Flounder FMP is underway and to provide an
opportunity for the public to comment on identified management strategies
or identify other relevant strategies in the management of Southern
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1, SALT WATER SPORTSMAN NATIONAL FISHING
SEMINAR SERIES at the New Bern Convention Center, New
Bern, NC, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm, featuring George Poveromo. Get your tickets
now, to avoid a sellout. To pay with Visa, MasterCard and American
Express, call (800) 448-7360, or to register on-line, visit: www.nationalseminarseries.com
MARCH 7, "BITE ME" ADVANCED ANGLING FISHING SCHOOL
PRESENTED BY BILL CARONE TRUCKS, at Mad Boar Restaurant
in Wallace, NC, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. Speakers include Capt. Mike Taylor,
Capt. Jason Dail, Capt. Seth Vernon, Capt. Jeff Cronk, Capt. Allen
Jernigan, and Capt. Ray Brittain.