Friday, November 22, 2019

Great Newsletter

November 21, 2019

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 confidential information."

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 recreating!

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 mahogany?

You can log on to the website to bid from the comfort of your home or office at:

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:

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 Sportfishing!
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 Sportfishing!
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 Fishing Charters!
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 bottom-fishing!
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:

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


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 flounder fishery.

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:

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.

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