Herring fishing to remain halted

Published 10:27 am Friday, February 23, 2007

By Staff
Martin County leaders to court Legislature
By NIKIE MAYO, News Editor
The moratorium on river herring will remain in effect following a 4-3 vote by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Thursday.
After the vote, Martin County commissioners said they’d take their case to the General Assembly.
Commission members Marshall Williford, David Beresoff, B.J. Copeland and Jim Leutze voted in favor of the moratorium. Members Mikey Daniels, Barbara Garrity-Blake and Bradley Styron voted against it.
County leaders have said allowing a limited herring harvest is vital to the town’s heritage, its tourism-related efforts, and its economy. The Martin County town of Jamesville has hosted an annual spring celebration of the fish for nearly 60 years.
The Joint Legislative Commission on Seafood and Aquaculture voted last month to recommend that the state consider lifting the moratorium on fishing for adult river herring. That ban has been in place since last March.
Under the terms of that January recommendation, the state would allow at least 100,000 pounds of herring for commercial harvests and 25 fish per person per day for recreational anglers. That same language appears in the Martin County resolution that commissioners passed unanimously Jan. 10.
Smith, along with Commissioner Mort Hurst and commissioners’ Chairman Tommy Bowen, made the trip to Carolina Beach to speak during the public-comment portion of the meeting Thursday morning.
Hurst said he told the commission a vote for the moratorium was a vote against the county.
Bowen said they knew Thursday’s outcome would be close, but were hoping to swing one more vote against the moratorium.
After receiving public comment, the commission will vote again in June, Fish said.