The most recent striped bass kill off of Oregon Inlet was another one caused by North Carolina’s commercial trawl fishery. Hundreds, maybe thousands of fish were photographed from a helicopter being released from the nets after crews had boated their limit of 2,000 pounds.
Keep in mind, that under NC commercial fishing rules, these captains have done nothing wrong. In NC, it’s legal to dump tons of fish overboard to die and waste, no longer able to breed and produce future generations of striper.
This isn’t sitting well with recreational anglers, conservationists and even most commercial fishermen up and down the coast.
But until the North Carolina fisheries managers change their rules, the same will continue.
Unless the feds get involved. And they might.
There were reports today that the US Fish and Wildlife Service is looking into the matter. Agents with the service were said to have found fish up to 44 inches long beached at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. This even after state investigators said they found mostly fish under the 28 inch legal size. Aerial photographs circulating on the internet show countless fish of all sizes floating off the refuge.
The NC Marine Fisheries Commission will look into its trawl fishery – unique to East Coast commercial striper fishing – when it meets Feb. 11 in Pine Knoll Shores.