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(PRWEB)January 26, 2005 -- The N.C. Marine Patrol, the enforcement arm of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, cited the entire crew of a Louisiana menhaden factory boat Dec. 28, 2004, for the illegal netting and filleting of striped bass.

A striper angler at the scene told North Carolina Sportsman approximately two dozen recreational boats were fishing "between theCape Lookout jetties and the Dead Tree Hole (off Shackleford Banks).First, a (menhaden boat) spotter plane shows up, then the factory boat,and it dropped off a (purse-seine) boat.

"(The purse-seine boat) used a net to make a circle (around themenhaden school), then tightened it down. Then the factory boat came alongside and sucked up the menhaden with a big vacuum hose."

During that process, anglers saw workers tossing striped bass, thathad been feeding on the menhaden, out of the nets. One of therecreational anglers called the N.C. Division of Marine FisheriesMarine Patrol.

"Yes, we got a call from one of (the striper anglers)," Capt. SteveAnthony said. "We always appreciate any calls (the fishing public makesto the Patrol). It works out well for everybody."

Within a few minutes and after a MP helicopter, piloted by CWO RockNewman, had surveyed the menhaden boat's netting operation, a DMFvessel, captained by Sgt. Herb Orama, arrived with officers MitchStone, Brian Gillis and two Coast Guardsmen from Fort Macon.

"The helicopter pilot saw big stripers on the deck of the boat,"Sgt. Orama said. "He called me while we were checking another (factory)boat."

"(Marine Patrol officers) boarded the boat and stayed on it for twohours at least," the striper angler said. "They ended up writing 24violations. They wrote everyone on the boat a ticket for illegalpossession of striped bass and possessing mutilated finfish."

Col. Joe Lynch, head of the Marine Patrol, confirmed the angler's account.

"They had 13 whole striped bass on the boat, a couple of tails andsome fillets," he said. "The boat, the Albert J. Bourg, had 12 membersincluding the captain. Each crew member received two citations. Theboat has a Louisiana homeport."

Menhaden factory boats working N.C. waters are usually in theemploy of Beaufort Fisheries of Beaufort or Houston, Texas-based OmegaProtein.

Lynch said the officers also checked a Mississippi menhaden boat, the Grand Batture, but found no violations.

Orama estimated the stripers ranged in size from 15 to 35 pounds.

The Bourg's crew used gaffs to remove stripers from the purse seines.

"They were going to eat the stripers," Sgt. Orama said. "The captain said he didn't realize they couldn't keep striped bass."

Orama said a regulation allows commercial boat crews to keep one percent of their catch for personal consumption, but that rule doesn't apply to striped bass.

"First, the (netting) season's closed and second, no one can take stripers with purse seines, only gill nets," Orama said.

The DMF had set a Jan. 4-5 gill-netting season for ocean striperswith two additional days, Jan. 11-12, to be added if the poundage quotawasn't reached Jan. 4-5.

In addition to a fine for possessing stripers illegally, Lynch saidthe menhaden boat crew, if found guilty, could pay replacement costsfor each dead fish.

"The total fine, if they plead guilty or are found guilty, willdepend on how serious the judge is," Lynch said. "(The fine) would bebased on a per-pound fee."

The recreational striper angler said the purse-seine boats didn't encircle any sport-fishing boats while setting their nets.

"They made small circles to avoid that," he said. "But if weweren't there, they would have made a larger set. If we hadn't beenthere, you wonder how many stripers, red drum or whatever else they might have netted (in the bycatch). Even though they didn't encircleus, the impression was terrible. You have these two huge boats come in where you're fishing and put out nets and seem to catch everything."

The recreational angler said the best aspect of the incident was the Marine Patrol's quick response.

"It was super quick," he said. "(Recreational striper anglers) were impressed with how quickly (the arrest) went down."

389 Posts
Busted at last, great to hear somebody answered the call and actually responded. :D Usually if they do show up the culprits are already gone. GOOD JOB NCMP !!! ;)

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10,102 Posts

Wish the NCMP had been there at Rodanthe when there were at least 10 pogie boats that surrounded several huge schools of menhaden with RED DRUM in the mix.. We actually saw drum busting through the menhaden that day. They were THAT THICK! :eek:

We had about a 3 day bite going with these schools of menhaden staying close to shore. The beach anglers were catching as well. We caught over a hundred in the three day span. Shame of it all>> after those pogie boats arrived the schools of menhaden and the drum were all gone the next day.. :mad: Haven't seen a school of menhaden that size,that close to the beach since.. :(

31 Posts
i was out there that day...didnt see the bass onboard the pogy boat, but they had been working hard around us for weeks...

DD, the weird thing about the shad is we have had a TON of em here this year...from right on the beach on out...TONS!! good thing. too bad i didnt find a bass in all that bait!!

waitin for the "big red ones" to show on the shoals...

776 Posts
glad to finally see that the marine patrol is doing something about this. it has been a problem for a long time

8 Posts
Good time to help the CCA North Carolina (print&read)

"Save Our Pogies"-- The Mission Begins By Rube McMullan of Ocean Isle Fishing Center
To our fellow fishing friends: We have communicated with you in the past concerning our concern about protecting our menhaden and desire to try to get Legislation passed to stop pogy netting within our State waters[3 miles]. Last year we made some good progress by getting all the Brunswick County beach communities to pass a resolution and request our State Representative to introduce the bill. What we have been waiting for was the election to conclude. We have an excellent friend of the sport fisherman with our Representative Bonner Stiller. He is a sportfisherman and is willing to lead our effort however for the effort to succeed we must have a well organized plan that is also well executed and has the full support and effort of the entire sport fishing population. I recently met with Bonner and developed the beginning of a strategy. Detailed below is the plan with suggestions of what is needed at this point to get the plan rolling.

The first step is for everyone to understand how the political game works. We're up against the commercial fishing lobby which spreads lots of dollars around supporting various candidates. What we don't have in dollars we do have in numbers therefore the key to our game has to be to pound elected House Representatives and Senators with request for help to our effort. If we can demonstrate we have such a large voting block, we can offset the dollar issue we cannot compete with.Many of us have homes inland as well as at the coast and since this will be a state wide issue, we must work just as hard on our elected officials at our inland homes.

Now the plan:

[1] It is imperative that Rep Bonner Stiller remain as a member [and co-chairman] of the Seafood and Agriculture Committee as this committee is the beginning and end point of every fishery issue that would be considered by the Legislature and a bill can die quickly in a committee. In that regard we must mount a letter writing campaign to "encourage" Senator Albertson, Chairman of Seafood and Agriculture Committee, Speaker Jim Black, Speaker Richard Morgan, and Representative Culpepper[Chairman of Rules Committee] to keep Rep Stiller on the committee. A sample letter is included and the contact page for State Reps and Senators can be reached at www.ncga.state.nc.us.

[2] The most powerful person in the Senate is Speaker Marc Basnight. He has been a leader in getting the Saltwater License passed and it is important we show him our support as we will need his support with our project. A sample letter to him is attached.

[3] In that this will be a state wide issue in getting a bill passed, it is imperative we solicit support from all our Reps and Senators throughout the state, therefore a letter writing campaign must be directed to all the elected officials, particularly the ones who represent your home area. A sample letter is attached.

The State Legislature reconvenes January 26, committee assignments will be given out first, therefore the letter on the Seafood/Ag committee is most important and needs to be sent out ASAP. All the attached letters are intended simply as a guide so please change or modify as you wish.

[4] We need a slogan. My suggestion is "Save Our Pogies". I am designing a tee shirt that will feature a large commercial net boat with the captain in a hand to hand fight with King Mack fighting over a pogy. In the background will be all the fish, pelicans, and porpoises that depend on pogies for their food source cheering on King Mack; hence their request to "Save Our Pogies". I'm trying to get the artist who does our Jolly Mon shirts to do the work so hopefully we will have a great marketable tee shirt. We can sell the shirt to raise funds at tourneys/tackle shops/ect. Also we can make bumper stickers.

[5] We'll need money therefore I am going to set up a bank account at BBT [account name "Save Our Pogies"]. The Ocean Isle Fishing Center will make a $200 contribution to get the account going. I suggest for every $100 contribution we get we give out 2 tee shirts and 2 bumper stickers. We will probably need to set up as a 301C Corporation as a tax free corp as well as for liability purposes. The bank account will be used for operating cost and politicking as the process progresses. This will be a 100% volunteer effort; no monies will be spent except for direct expenses associated with the effort.

[6] We'll need a web site. I may have someone who will do for us but on this or any element that anyone has expertise or is willing to donate their time, it will be helpful and appreciated by the effort.

[7] We'll need to set up a committee of those who have some time to help in the effort. If you can help please email me direct at [email protected]

[8] We need to identify various fish oriented groups who may take a leadership role in the effort i.e. CCA

This is the beginning of the program, which I believe to be a noble effort and thus it has my full commitment and support. We are working to protect our fishery for now and the future. Any ideas/thoughts/ect are greatly appreciated.

Rube McMullan

FOR MORE INFORMATION, visit www.saveourpogies.com
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