Friday, February 14, 2020

How about some of you trout fishermen show up........ the New Bern MFC meeting and tell them how important the upstream net ban has positively impacted recreational fishing around New Bern.

February 14, 2020
·        • MFC TO MEET FEB. 19-21 IN NEW BERN

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will meet Feb. 19-21 at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center, 203 South Front St., New Bern. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Feb. 19, at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 20, and at 9 a.m. Feb. 21.

Public comment periods are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Feb. 19 and at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 20. Members of the public may speak to the commission on any fisheries-related topic. The chairman will allow each speaker to comment for three minutes. More time may be allotted, at the chairman's discretion, depending on the number who sign up to speak. Those making comments will be asked to speak only once, either at the Feb. 19 or the Feb. 20 session, but not during both public comment periods.

The deadline for submitting written comments to the commission through the Marine Fisheries Commission Office is 5 p.m. Feb. 17. Those who wish to submit comments electronically may do so through an online format by clicking here.

Those who wish to bring their own handouts to give to the commission during the public comment period should bring at least 12 copies to the meeting. The Marine Fisheries Commission Office will not accept public comment for this meeting through email.

The public may listen to the meeting online. Up to 200 participants may listen to audio and view presentations in real-time on a first-come, first-served basis. Directions for participating in the webcast, including information on system requirements and testing, can be found here. Following the meeting, an audio recording will be posted online.

The meeting agenda and full 1200+ page briefing book materials are posted online here.

CCA NC will be offering comments in support of potential Rulemaking for Small Mesh Gill Nets to include:
The gill net free zones established upstream in the Pamlico and Neuse have saved, for the most part, the two good year classes of stripers that are present in these systems.  From what we are seeing, these fish have remained in the systems and are currently in place ready to move up the rivers this spring to spawn. 
Mild winters and ideal environmental conditions for successful spawns have resulted in a trifecta boom in three species: speckled trout, red drum and striped bass. The upstream net free zones are not responsible for this boom, but these large protected areas resulting from the net restrictions have provided a sanctuary, making the fish more accessible for an economically booming recreational fishery and easier for enforcement to protect.
The reduced bag limits and increased size limit on speckled trout imposed on recreational anglers have also played a huge role in the rebound in those stocks. Again, combined with the mild winters and ideal environmental conditions, the large, spawning size speckled trout are now allowed a chance to escape harvest and grow another season, resulting in an abundant stock now targeted by both recreational and commercial fishermen.
The Commission needs to recognize the extraordinary gift we have been given by Mother Nature and do everything in its power to protect these abundant stocks for future generations. The public trust interest in these natural resources should be protected for the majority and not allowed to be exploited by the few. The reason for the gill net zones was to protect several good year classes of striped bass.  They are still out there.  The need to protect these fish is just as great as it was when the closures were first established.  If anything, the need to maintain the gill net free zones or sanctuaries is greater than before and consideration should be given to expanding this "gill net sanctuary" to the mouths of the Pamlico, Neuse and Bay rivers or simply use the current "tie-down" lines.

The Commission will also consider Rulemaking to make Tarpon a "catch and release" only fishery. CCA NC supports the proposed rules changes that would make it illegal to possess or sell tarpon; hook and line only means of catching; and unlawful to gaff, spear or puncture.

Recreational anglers and supporters of coastal conservation are encouraged to attend the meeting to share their experiences and concerns. It is important for the Commission to hear from the community that owns the public trust resources the Commission is given a fiduciary responsibility to manage and protect for current and future generations.

February 15, Onslow Bay Chapter Banquet, Swansboro, NC. This year the Onslow Bay Chapter will be honoring Dick Henry, a true legend in the fishing tackle world and North Carolina treasure. Dick was the founder of Henry's Tackle that has now evolved into the global giant, Big Rock Sports. The auctions will include spa packages, wine tasting, fishing and hunting trips, and great vacation destinations. There will also be a new ATV, oyster roast for 40, fishing tackle, a used boat, motor and trailer, plus donations from many local companies, and much, much more! Join us for the fun at the Swansboro Civic Center on Saturday, February 15th. For tickets or more information please contact Rocky Carter at (336) 423-9100 or Matthew Wallin at (757) 508-3980.

February 27, East Carolina Chapter Banquet, Greenville, NC. The East Carolina Chapter returns to the beautiful and spacious Rock Springs Center for their 31st annual banquet. The auctions include fishing trips and popular vacation destinations, local donations of jewelry and clothing, boats, motors and trailers, and an off-road vehicle. And did we mention a puppy?! For tickets and more information please contact Billy Byrd at (252) 341-0191 or Matthew Wallin at (757) 508-3980.

March 5, Neuse River Chapter Banquet, New Bern, NC. The Neuse River Banquet returns to the Shrine Club located on South Glenburnie Road. The event features one of the best banquet meals found in the state served up by Chef Ben Wheat and Two Chefs Catering, plus live and silent auctions, and raffles featuring one of the best tackle line ups at this type of event! For tickets and more information please contact Donald Willis (252) 670-3853 or Matthew Wallin (757) 508-3980.

March 26, Charlotte Chapter Annual Banquet, hosted by The Palmer Building. For more information please contact Joe Neely (704) 249-8196.


Tickets for all CCA NC spring banquets can be purchased online:

FEBRUARY 19 -21, NC MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION MEETING, at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center. The meeting agenda is available now at:
Public comment is welcome both Wednesday night and Thursday morning. 

FEBRUARY 20-23, BEAUFORT GAME FAIRE, at the Beaufort Hotel, Beaufort, NC.

Featuring the introduction of the Carolina Conservation Cup, 5 Stand Championship and Calcutta to auction off teams and shooters from NC's Big 5 conservation groups --- Ducks Unlimited, Coastal Conversation Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Quail Forever & NC Wildlife Federation will compete to carry home the trophy and donations from the Beaufort Game Faire. The winning bidders in the Calcutta will carry home a Caesar-Guerini/Syren shotgun, keep your eye on the clay birds, folks. For more information visit their website at: