Letter to the editorPublished 12:50pm Saturday, May 17, 2014
The game playing with our important bottom habitat has got to stop.
North Carolina has got fisheries, resources other states would love to have. It’s the millions of acres in Pamlico Sound Estuarine. It’s the second largest estuarine system in the country. And it‘s the backbone of North Carolina fishery.
I have 35 years of experience in commercial fishing and 60 in sport fishing. My knowledge of fishing has been obtained by using most of the commercial years used in the Pamlico Sound Estuarine.
I would like to share some of my knowledge with the public. We all know Pamlico Sound Estuarine is not as healthy as it was several decades ago. While, I believe a healthy bottom habitat is the basic foundation for a healthy fishery.
My concerns are for our public trust oysters bottom in the open water Pamlico Sound Estuarine. This estuarine have hundred and thousands of acres of prime oyster bottom. We know oyster are one of the most important marine species living in our marine environment, according to trip tickets collected by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries in2012.
There were 445 shrimp boats dragging their travel nets over these oyster bottom habitats. These heavy nets can resuspended millions of pounds bottom sediment put back in suspension and contributes to the further dehydration of habitat of all present marine life.
In 1991, a division of marine fisheries oyster specialist Mike Marshall told them public at a Kinston meeting, that oyster bottoms and traveling are not compatible, and it is critical for the state to protect these oyster bottoms and fish habitat. Because they provide food and shelter for the young of over 100 different species, that using this estuarine oyster bottoms and fish habitat as a nursery to breed spawn and mature. Yet 22 years later these travel fishermen are still dragging heavy shrimp and crab travel nets over these important bottoms, and fisheries management are still unwilling to protect these important oyster bottoms and fish habitat.
They know this years is nonselective wasteful and habitat destructive. They also know this travels years have put unnecessary regulations on other fisherman. They don’t deserve and don’t need, because they are willing to use conservative fishing years. The day has come the public has got to decide what’s best for the fishery resources. This travel years or these important oysters bottoms and fish habitat in open water Pamlico Sound Estuarine.
If the public is willing to stop the use of nonselective wasteful and habitat destruction fishing years, the Pamlico Sound Estuarine could again become productive and its bounty create thousands of job sand millions of dollars in revenues for North Carolina