SELC Calls on Fisheries Commission to Prevent Waste in Striped Bass Trawl Fishery
The Southern Environmental Law Center called on the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission to prevent waste in the striped bass trawl fishery after reports, photographs and videos of trawlers discarding thousands of striped bass on January 16, 2011 and again on February 3-4, 2011.
“Incidents of trawlers discarding thousands of dead striped bass off the North Carolina Outer Banks over the past few weeks are appalling and unacceptable,” said Derb Carter, director of the Carolinas office at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “The Marine Fisheries Commission has a legal responsibility to conserve fisheries and prevent such waste. It should not re-open trawling for striped bass unless it has clear and enforceable restrictions in place to prevent this wasteful practice. The commission must also consider reallocation of striped bass to other commercial fishing methods that produce less waste.”
After being heavily overfished, the take of valuable striped bass is controlled through state-by-state quotas for coastal fisheries with each state responsible for managing fisheries under its quota. Federal waters (between 3 and 200 miles offshore) currently remain closed to commercial fishing for striped bass.
SELC sent a letter to the commission and the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries on February 10, 2011 outlining their concern over the reported incidents and related policies.