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STOP COMMERCIAL MENHADEN NETTING

Save Our Pogys-- The Mission Begins - 01/11/2005

To our fellow fishing friends: We have communicated with you in the past concerning our concern about protecting our menhaden and desire to try to get Legislation passed to stop pogy netting within our State waters[3 miles]. Last year we made some good progress by getting all the Brunswick County beach communities to pass a resloution and request our State Representative to introduce the bill. What we have been waiting for was the election to conclude. We have an excellent friend of the sport fisherman with our Representative Bonner Stiller. He is a sportfisherman and is willing to lead our effort however for the effort to succeed we must have a well organized plan that is also well executed and has the full support and effort of the entire  sport fishing population. I recently met with Bonner and developed the beginning of a strategy. Detailed below is the plan with suggestions of what is needed at this point to get the plan rolling.
 
The first step is for everyone to understand how the political game works. We're up against the commercial fishing lobby which spreads lots of dollars around supporting various candidates. What we don't have in dollars we do have in numbers therefore the key to our game has to be to pound elected House Representatives and Senators with request for help to our effort. If we can demonstrate we have such a large voting block, we can offset the dollar issue we cannot compete with.Many of us have homes inland as well as at the coast and since this will be a state wide issue, we must work just as hard on our elected officals at our inland homes.
 
Now the plan:
 
[1] It is imperative that Rep Bonner Stiller remain as a member [and co-chairman] of the Seafood and Agriculture Committee as this committee is the beginning and end point of  every fishery issue that would be considered by the Legislature and a bill can die quickly in a committee. In that regard we must mount a letter writing campaign to "encourage" Senator Albertson, Chairman of Seafood and Agriculture Committee, Speaker Jim Black, Speaker Richard Morgan, and Representative Culpepper[Chairman of Rules Committee] to keep Rep Stiller on the committee. A sample letter is included and the contact page for State Reps and Senators can be reached at www.ncga.state.nc.us.
 
[2] The most powerful person in the Senate is Speaker Marc Basnight. He has been a leader in getting the Saltwater License passed and it is important we show him our support as we will need his support with our project. A sample letter to him is attached.
 
[3] In that this will be a state wide issue in getting a bill passed, it is imperative we sollicit support from all our Reps and Senators throughout the state, therefore a letter writing campaign must be directed to all the elected officials, particuliarly the ones who represent your home area. A sample letter is attached.
 
The State Legislature reconvenes January 26, committee assignments will be given out first, therefore the letter on the Seafood/Ag committe is most important and needs to be sent out ASAP. All the attached letters are intended simply as a guide so please change or modify as you wish.
 
[4] We need a slogan. My suggestion is "Save Our Pogies". I am designing a tee shirt that will feature a large commercial net boat with the captain in a hand to hand fight with King Mack fighting over a pogy. In the background will be all the fish, pelicans, and porpoises that depend on pogies for their food source cheering on King Mack; hence their request to "Save Our Pogies". I'm trying to get the artist who does our Jolly Mon shirts to do the work so hopefully we will have a great marketable tee shirt. We can sell the shirt to raise funds at tourneys/tackle shops/ect. Also we can make bumper stickers.
 
[5] We'll need money therefore I am going to set up a bank account at BBT [account name "Save Our Pogies"]. The Ocean Isle Fishing Center will make a $200 contribution to get the account going. I suggest for every $100 contribution we get we give out 2 tee shirts and 2 bumper stickers. We will probably need to set up as a 301C Corporation as a tax free corp as well as for liability purposes. The bank account will be used for operating cost and poloticing as the process progresses. This will be a 100% volunteer effort; no monies will be spent except for direct expenses associated with the effort.
 
[6] We'll need a web site. I may have someone who will do for us but on this or any element that anyone has expertise or is willing to donate their time, it will be helpful and appreciated by the effort.
 
[7] We'll need to set up a committe of those who have some time to help in the effort. If you can help please email me direct at
 
[8] We need to identify various fish oriented groups who may take a leadership role in the effort i.e. CCA
 
This is the beginning of the program, which I believe to be a noble effort and thus it has my full commitment and support. We are working to protect our fishery for now and the future. Any ideas/thoughts/ect are greatly appreciated.
 
Rube McMullan 


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