This bill cuts the legs out from under commercial fishing industry by designating certain fish off limits to them; only to be caught by a select, small sector of recreational fishermen. This bill WILL eliminate existing jobs; this bill WILL essentially kill the commercial fishing industry in North Carolina, and this bill WILL hit Dare County particularly hard.
In the BIGGER picture, this bill will deny nine million consumers (the total North Carolina population) access to locally caught fresh North Carolina seafood; allowing only those who want to catch, kiss, release, and or eat TOTAL access to certain species.
It has been said that “this bill calls upon one’s moral compass”. Indeed it does.
To: Members of N C General Assembly
Cc: Governor Pat McCrory
Subject: Game fish bill HB 353
Date: March 5 2013
Legislators all, I beg your indulgence with regards to the following and I apologize for the lengthiness. Due to the persistent lobbying effort by the Coastal Conservation Association, it is no secret that there is a concentrated effort to reintroduce for final passage HB 353 the “game fish bill.” Since the emergence of the CCA’s participation into the decision making process of the NC Div of Marine Fisheries my friend Will Etheridge,owner of Etheridge Seafood in Wanchese NC, has asked ” what kind of person would want their pleasure to interfere with another person’s livelihood?” Reasoned, twisted, and turned for years, the answer has always revolved around GREED. Therefore I contend this is as much of a moral issue as an economic one.
I feel it important that NC legislators know that the national and local CCA purports to represent all of the recreational fisherman. The fact is they are a minuscule fraction,less than 1%, of the recreational fishery. The numbers escape me but a measure of their total membership, compared to the total sale of saltwater fishing licenses, tells the tale. However, the CCA does have a LOT of money and they flaunt it to buy the votes they need to accomplish their ultimate goal of a total net ban that has always begun with a “game fish bill.” A total net ban will include shrimping! Can you imagine NC not being able to harvest its vast protein resources for the purpose of commerce and the wants and needs of a consuming public? It’s offensive to think, that such an incremental plan of action is being attempted by a self centered few, whereas in actuality it will only mentally,yes mentally, enhance THEIR pleasure during THEIR leisure time.” Import it” the CCA says.” Find you another job. We don’t care. We are more economically important than you because there are more of us.” The ELITE CCA openly submits such. Honestly can you not agree that such is a reflection of disdain and a lack of compassion and moral equivalence? The CCA would have you the lawmakers believe that without any commercial harvest of certain resources that the recreational fishery will balloon into economic grandeur. The economic facts that the CCA puts forth to support their endeavor are a farce and have been proven to be so in all prior States they have targeted. The current economic down turn has provided the ELITE with an escalated opportunistic attempt to grab control of the resources. Lobbying efforts and campaign contributions were monumental during last years election.Typical of the CCA, and sadly it works when legislators deprive their God given thought process of its full potential.To implement law that will eliminate existing jobs and cause the devastation of a culturally based food producing industry makes no sense WHATSOEVER! Surely “reason” if applied will prevail in favor of protection of existing jobs versus the false premise of jobs that exist only in the imagination. Interestingly I ask, why is it that Texas, Louisiana, and Florida cannot document and verify an economic boom that was professed to their legislators by the CCA to be the gospel of the future?
I would like to point out that here in Dare County, to my knowledge, there is only ONE individual that is proud enough to claim membership to the CCA or that belongs to the CCA. One individual did not elect a single legislator in this state. If I were a legislator I would be ashamed and embarrassed to face my constituency if I allowed myself to succumb to such a charade. It is notable that beginning during the administration of Governor Jim Hunt, the CCA with it’s muscle money has managed to gain control of the NCMFC appointment balance, thus continuously allowing less than sound science into the decision process. The NCMFC was intended to facilitate commerce generated by the commercial fishing industry guided by sound science, common sense, and hands on experience.
It is true that money talks BUT it cannot differentiate right from wrong. In 1774 Thomas Paine penned ” the most formidable weapon against errors of any kind is reason.” I ask, does yielding to [for fun fisherman] the National and NC chapter of the CCA really square with “a taking” from NC’s population of 9,000,000 potential consumers? I am 66 years of age. I offer my comments having a lifetime of experience sport fishing and 20 years as a commercial fisherman. Both user groups used to get along because there was AND STILL IS room for both. WHAT HAPPENED? THE ELITE CCA, thats what!!
Unlike you I was on the front line when the CCA began targeting NC. The CCA owns HB 353. It is an ill intended bill. It is an ill conceived bill. It has zero merit to the advantage of North Carolina. I trust that you will do me the justice to realize that I have strained to allow, in a nice way, THE TRUTH. I thank you for your indulgence.
Dare County Republican Chairman