Decline of NC Fishing……98.6% of Legislature Members Ignore Questions and NCDMF Declines Podcast Invitation
Those charged with responsibility to protect the North Carolina coastal fishing resources have again sent a chilling sign of their effort to distance themselves from this growing issue. On August 10, Coastal Carolina Fisherman e-Magazine sent an email to nearly each member of the North Carolina Legislature. The email details the continued decline of the state’s coastal fishery and asked the state’s lawmakers to comment on their stand on 4 questions regarding the issues. Only 1 lawmaker responded to the 4 attempts and 93.7% never opened the email at all, with only 5 lawmakers opening the list of questions.
However, Senator Natasha Marcus of Mecklenburg County did respond and made this statement as part of her response. “I have discussed the issue with my coastal colleagues and agree that it is an issue that needs immediate attention, based on data driven evidence, in order to avoid total devastation of the fish population. As I understand it, the problem is worse in NC than anywhere else in the US. That’s a shame.”
During the same time period, NC Division of Marine Fisheries director, Stephen Murphy was invited to participate in the coming Coastal Carolina Fisherman, “Just Angling” podcast to answer questions from North Carolina anglers on the state of North Carolina’s coastal fishing. He declined the invitation despite the podcast host offering to schedule the podcast to accommodate Murphy’s busy schedule.
It’s apparent that the overwhelming majority of the North Carolina lawmakers either are not concerned or want to distance themselves from this growing problem. At the same time, North Carolina Marine Fisheries management declined invitations to address questions and concerns on the topic. It’s clear that these 2 entities have built a protective wall around themselves. Nearly all of the North Carolina Legislature members no longer pretend to be concerned about the decline and the management of the state’s fishing resource. As a group they simple ignore the questions and most of all the cry for help from the state’s million plus fishermen, both commercial and recreational. The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries is avoiding facing the media questions, probably because the answers will only bring further scrutiny and criticism to the agency.
Sources now say flounder fishing restrictions and closures implemented mid-2019 have fallen far shot of projections. This can only indicated that placing closures on the recreational fisherman was not the sole answer or even a valid response to the massive decline. The question today is, will the state government finally accept the responsibly to place our coastal fishery on a track toward restoration rather than continued decline as we have seen for the past years?
The same questions that were sent to the NC Legislature will be sent next week to both candidates of the North Carolina governors race.