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 Fish Post

Releases – November 14, 2019

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After their popular introductory fisheries science course, North Carolina Sea Grant’s fisheries extension specialists Scott Baker and Sara Mirabilio are launching a companion class that provides an overview of the process of North Carolina’s marine fisheries management. Confirmed speakers include Steve Murphey, director of N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.

Registration opened late October for the course, which participants can take in person or online.

“The course explores the complexities of marine fisheries management in our state,” says Baker. “A three-part class allows us to look at North Carolina’s marine fishery management past, present, and future.”

Susan White, executive director of North Carolina Sea Grant, says the sessions are in response to feedback about fishing stakeholders’ interests.

“Scott Baker and Sara Mirabilio continue to seek opportunities to engage and educate fishers and interested community members regarding fisheries in North Carolina,” White says. “This course brings the latest policy and management information to the table in an approachable and applicable manner for anyone who wants to continue to expand their own role in these topics.”

“Introductory N.C. Marine Fisheries Management for Fishermen” will run Tuesday nights from Nov. 26 through Dec. 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Participants can attend classes at NC State’s Center for Marine Sciences and Technology in Morehead City or take the course as a webinar online.

The $15 course fee is the same whether registrants choose a virtual or traditional classroom setting. Enrollment is limited for each format and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Registration is required: https://commerce.cashnet.com/NCSUSG?CNAME=COURSES.

For more information, contact Scott Baker at (910) 962-2492 or msbaker@ncsu.edu.


The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a public scoping period Dec. 4-18 to solicit public comments on potential management strategies for an upcoming amendment to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan.

The primary management strategy for Amendment 3 is long-term sustainable harvest in the southern flounder fishery. The South Atlantic Southern Flounder Stock Assessment update (containing data through 2017) indicated the stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring.

Fisheries stakeholders can provide in-person comments at two scoping meetings that will be held: (1) Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m. at N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, Central District Office, 5285 Highway 70 West, Morehead City; and (2) Dec. 17 at 6:00 p.m. at Dare County Government Complex, Commissioners Meeting Room, 954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo.

Beginning Dec. 4, comments can also be submitted through the division’s website with an online form or by mail. A news release will be issued closer to the scoping period providing details on how the public can participate.

A scoping document outlining the potential management strategies can be found on the Southern Flounder Amendment Information Page.


Imagine a vessel gliding through coastal waters, heading for Wanchese in Dare County. Upon arrival, the captain, mate, and team at the fish house hustle to unload the day’s catch: baskets of blue crab.

North Carolina’s most harvested commercial species by pound, the blue crab, will be sold in nearby seafood markets or trucked to farm-to-table restaurants in Raleigh or Charlotte. Other days, depending on market demands, it may be packed on ice, bound for New York, Boston, or Washington, DC.

North Carolina’s commercial fishing industry is a complex economic puzzle with many pieces. In 2017, $97 million of wild-caught fish and shellfish were landed, over $16 million to Wanchese alone.

“These fisheries support local communities by providing important sources of employment, business income, and food,” explains Jane Harrison, North Carolina Sea Grant’s coastal economist.

Harrison is leading a new research project to consider commercial fisheries’ impacts on state and local economies. The one-year study, which includes partners at three universities, is funded by the N.C. Commercial Fishing Resource Fund. The fund is jointly overseen by the Marine Fisheries Commission’s Commercial Resource Fund Committee and the Funding Committee for the N.C. Commercial Fishing Resource Fund.

The research team also includes Barry Nash, seafood technology and marketing specialist at North Carolina Sea Grant; Eric Edwards and Sara Sutherland, who are affiliates of the Center for Environmental and Resource Economic Policy at NC State University; as well as economists Chris Dumas of UNC-Wilmington and John Whitehead of Appalachian State University.

They will follow seafood from coastal and ocean waters to the consumer, collecting and analyzing data from harvest to processing to distribution.

“We will gain nuanced information about costs and supply chains,” Harrison explains.

“The boats delivering fish from Pamlico Sound employ crew, the fish houses employ workers, etc. But what we need to fully understand is where the fish are going, because the impact on the state is determined by where the fish are processed and consumed,” Sutherland adds.

Those economic impacts will be broken down by sectors and counties. The team will share the data and analysis not only with policymakers who make decisions regarding commercial fisheries, but also with investors and entrepreneurs who can help drive growth in the sector.

For example, Harrison explains, a survey of seafood consumers will indicate their willingness to pay for N.C. seafood products, as compared to imports.

The estimation of consumer demand for N.C. seafood will be used to quantify how demand is being met currently, as well as the potential for expanded economic impact through additional in-state seafood sales and consumption.


On Saturday, October 26, members of the Onslow Bay CCA NC Chapter hosted 40 veterans from the Durham Chapter of Project Healing Waters and a local crew of active duty MARSOC service men led by Billy Burch for a beautiful day of fall fishing out of Swansboro, NC.

The crew started the weekend with a Captains Party on Friday night to introduce the visiting fishermen to their captains. A total of 20 CCA NC members from across the state volunteered their time, gear, boats, and fishing knowledge to treat these American heroes to a calming day on the water.

Event Chairman Joe Yager planned and organized the weekend festivities, titled Keeping It Reel!

Awards were given out for the largest fish in a variety of inshore and offshore categories, with the largest catches coming from speckled trout, bluefish, spanish, and king mackerel.


Staff with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a four-day, in-person workshop Dec. 2-5 with scientists who are peer reviewing a draft assessment of North Carolina estuarine striped bass stocks.

The workshop will be held at the Bridge Pointe Hotel and Marina, 101 Howell Road, New Bern.

The discussions begin at 1:00 p.m. on Dec. 2 and at 9:00 a.m. on Dec. 3, 4, and 5. During open sessions, the public may observe the peer review process; however, there will not be a public comment period.

When deemed necessary, the committee will close the meeting to the public to allow the peer reviewers to deliberate and complete a draft version of their peer review report.

A stock assessment is a scientific analysis that uses information gathered from commercial and recreational fishermen and data from on-the-water scientific sampling and observations to determine the health of a fish population and predict how that population may respond to different management measures.

A peer review is an evaluation of scientific work by independent and unbiased experts. A peer review of a fisheries stock assessment evaluates the validity of the data used, the appropriateness of the assessment model used, and the rationale of any assumptions used. The evaluation determines if the science conducted is adequate for use in fisheries management. Peer review scientists have not been involved in or had input into the development of the stock assessment and have no stake in its outcome.

The open, in-person peer review process is meant to foster communication between the peer reviewers and division stock assessment scientists and to improve public understanding of fisheries stock assessments.