Save Our Pogies; More Work Needed Now! - 07/14/2005

I know many of you out there have been wondering what's been going on with our SAVE OUR POGIES effort since we got our butts kicked at the State Legislature. As some of you who know me personally would know, we haven't been crying in our beer, licking our wounds. There has been a lot of work we've been doing behind the scene, below the radar screen. This "behind the scene"work is continuing and I don't know that it will be successful but I am encouraged. Stand by.

Of immediate importance is seeing the issue that led us to declare "RED ALERT" on the pogy issue in the first place come to fruition. That was concern that limits would be placed on the menhaden fishery in the Chesepeake Bay and the result of those limits on the amount of fish Omega Proteins could take from the Bay would push them down to our North Carolina waters as they sought a source of product to offset their losses in the Chesepeake Bay.

Well...... it's happening just like I feared when I sounded the warning siren last year. The whole "envirnomental world" is piling onto the Chesepeake issue as it has now become a "politically correct" issue. There are numerous publications out there being released almost weekly that are pointing out the crisis that exists in the Bay as a result of overfishing by Omega. The end result is obvious and this is what we were trying to get our Legislatures to see so that we were ahead of the curve rather than behind it. Once Omega moves into our area with force and becomes a economic entity, it will be very difficult to do anything about them. This is a very critical point and if we don't move agressively, our sport fishery is in absolute danger of destruction by virtue of loss of predador fish food source.

Here's the deal...our bill is still alive. It wasn't killed in our hearing but only put to the side. There will be another opportunity for Rep Stiller to bring it back up and although I can't go into specifics, there is a bunch of politicing going on in the legislature that is not apparent on the surface[as I mentioned we learned alot at the hearing on civics]. What we need is for everyone to get back on our horses and renew contact with our elected officials. Of particuliar importance is Rep Joe Hackney who is the Democratic majority leader. The committee voted along pary lines and if we can get Rep Hackney to join us then the Democratics will follow him[Stiller is Republican]. Look on the 4/25/05 posting "Save our Pogies..Game On" and you will find contact addresses. The point in our letters to the Reps is the Chesepeake Bay issue and it's impact to North Carolina.

Also at the hearing, the race card was used liberally by Beauford Fisheries and several of the Reps who expressed concern for all the minority jobs our effort would take away. The facts of the matter [from Preston Pate, Head of Marine Fisheries] is Omega has not fished since January 20, 2005. For them to have made a case that we are putting people out of work is obviously not true, in that they haven't worked since Jan 20. What they should be concerned about are the many minority workers who depend upon the toursim industry for jobs and the impact to them if our sport fishery is destroyed.

That's it...please help us by getting back to work on this. There are some very intresting dynamics at work RIGHT NOW and we can influence decisions if we speak out..LOUDLY.

Thanks for your help.

Rube McMullan
Ocean Isle Fishing Center

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