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February 4, 2011

US Fish & Wildlife Service Confirms NC Commercial Trawlers Discarding Big, Legal Striped Bass

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Hello from Topsail Beach! Hello everyone. You may be getting tired of seeing this story on www.fishintopsail.com, but this is important to the future of our sport. Too long has criminal activities like this been alowed to go on by the powers that be in our state fisheries departments. It has got to stop!

Another story update by Jeffrey Weeks. This guy has some good and reliable sources.

Read the original post here.
Jeffrey Weeks, Yahoo! Contributor Network

Government agencies are investigating the latest striped bass kill off of Oregon Inlet by commercial trawlers and the results seem to indicate that the trawlers are culling not only undersized stripers but big, legal sized fish. Thousands of these large stripers are being killed and discarded so that trawlers can keep even larger fish.

Some of the dead stripers have begun washing up on the beaches of the Outer Banks as part of a grotesque man made fish kill.

The NC Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has admitted the actions of the trawlers are "indicative of culling" and suggested that 60 percent of the fish the Marine Patrol collected were under the legal size limit of 28 inches.

However, according to John Ellis of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) federal officials surveyed the beaches of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuse this morning and saw a different scene.

"Twenty one dead striped bass were found," Ellis said. "Three were under the minimum size limit for possession by recreational and commercial fishermen. The majority of the fish were around 30" and the largest was 44."

Despite the fact that the trawlers are clearly culling and killing legal sized stripers and simply discarding them, the striped bass trawl fishery was reopened yesterday and today. The DMF has made the decision to open the fishery twice since the first massive striped bass kill occurred.

The actions of the DMF are expected to be reviewed by the NC Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) at their meeting in Pine Knoll Shores Feb 11.