Dozens of commercial fishermen and recreational anglers told the Marine Fisheries Commission Wednesday just what they thought about a set of proposals to manage the southern flounder fishery.
Six proposals are being considered by the panel. They include a commercial Total Allowable Catch, a 15-inch size limit for both commercial and recreational fishermen, seasonal closures and — perhaps most controversially — a possible ban on the use of anchored large-mesh gill nets in North Carolina internal waters, effective Jan. 1, 2016.
Speakers at Wednesday’s public hearing, which was held at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center, were evenly divided, with recreational fishermen and conservationists favoring all — or at least some — of the proposed rule changes, which are being offered as a supplement to the state’s Southern Flounder Management Plan.
“What I hear is commercial fishermen and recreational fishermen competing for their catch of a declining fishery,” said Ron McCoy, a recreational fisherman from Pender County.
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