This week, the Charlotte edition of Examiner.com published a hard-hitting story by Jeffrey Weeks on the slaughter of striped bass by commercial trawlers off the coast of North Carolina. The video above, posted on Sunday, purports to show the results of commercial fishermen culling their catches, so their legal limit of 50 fish will weigh as much as possible.
In response to Weeks’s article and the outrage it generated, the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries issued this statement:
“The NC Division of Marine Fisheries is investigating reports
of numerous dead striped bass floating in the ocean waters in northern
Dare County areas.
The estimates of the numbers of dead fish have ranged from in
the hundreds to in the thousands. The division is trying to determine
the actual extent and cause of this event. However, the fish appear to
be discards from fishing activity.
There was extensive commercial and recreational striped bass
fishing in these waters over the holiday weekend. Both commercial and
recreational fisheries have had issues with discards of striped bass in
the past. However, this is the first time in several years that striped
bass have migrated this close to the shore.
The commercial striped bass trawl fishery is scheduled to
close at 6 p.m. Thursday. The division will evaluate the effort and
landings in this fishery to determine if quota remains and if the
fishery should reopen. The division will also consider if alternative
management measures could be used to prevent future discard mortality.”
According to Weeks’s follow-up article, “Charter captains continue to contact me about the miles and miles of dead stripers left in the wake of the striper trawlers.”