Reply from Rube-
I thank you very much for your message. When I built the Ocean Isle Fishing Center, one of my objectives was to use the facility as a vehicle to draw together fishermen where we could attack various important fishery related issues. I have a laundry list of issues I'm interested in[I also serve on the Shrimp Management Plan Committee] however there is no other one in my view of greater importance to our sport fishery than the pogy issue. Virtually everything that swims eats pogies[as well as pelicans/ect]. To see our entire stock wiped out in only a matter of days by the net boats seems like a terrible waste of this valuable resource to the citizens of North Carolina, not to speak of the sea life that depends upon it as a food source. My sons, Capt Brant and Capt Barrett are on the water everyday and they have seen first hand what happens to the sport fishery after the net boats wipe out the bait supply. When the food source is gone, the fish leave thus depriving our multimillion dollar sport fishery of the game fish we seek. And of greater concern is what I see happening with the Chesepeake Bay menhaden fishery. Approximately 75% of all pogies caught by commercial netters come from the Chesepeake Bay. There is a substantial movement underway as a part of the "Stripped Bass Recovery Plan" to restrict the amount of pogies taken from the Bay. The result is bound to be a movement by Omega Proteins down to our waters to make up for their lost quota in the Bay.The result of bringing this multibillion dollar corporation and their fleet of boats to our waters will be devestating. This is why I believe it is imperative that we move NOW to get in front of the curve and get legislation passed to protect our State waters.
So, your help is greatly appreciated and greatly needed. The step we are at this moment is to try to insure our bill sponsor, Representative Bonner Stiller, remains on the Seafood and Agriculture Committee. This committee is the beginning and end point on any legislation concerning fishery issues and as such to have our sponsor on the committee is extremely important to the effort. If you can encourage your members to immediately make contact with the elected officials I have indicated on our web site report this will be of great help and critically important. Committee assignments are being worked out NOW and will be given out when they go back in session, January 26. Obviously time is of the essence and contact needs to be made ASAP.
The next step will be to form a committee within our "Save Our Pogies" group to work on the project. Certainly the CCA has an important role and I hope CCA will take a role on the committee.
Again, thank you for your comments. I believe we have the opportunity to present a very strong power base to the elected officials and can succeed in accomplishing our goal if all sport fishing interest will get on board and take a active role in the effort.
Ocean Isle Fishing Center