Gill net restriction saved Neuse River stripers

We received an encouraging message and pictures from a Pamlico River fisherman this weekend, said CCA NC Executive Director David Sneed.

“I wanted to share with you some of the dividends from your striped bass conservation efforts,” the angler wrote. “I cannot ever recall catching this many 3-6 lb. stripers in my life. They are everywhere up near town. Best I can tell they will not fall victim to gill nets unless DMF has an open shad fishery next year. Take a look at the fish that were saved due to the moratorium.

“What you have to realize is that every one of these fish has gotten big enough to stick in large mesh nets. No telling how many would have been lost if a flounder or other large mesh fishery was underway. Seems like a celebration is in order. These fish will have a chance to spawn because of the net restrictions.”

Just look at what a little conservation has done for this striped bass fishery, Sneed said. “And just think about next year. We’ll have these fish and if we do not have a freeze event, we’ll have trout and the big year class of red drum that are almost 18″ now. North Carolina can have a world-class fishery if we are just willing to take proactive measures to address the obvious problems.”

This would not have been possible without the efforts of N.C. Marine Fisheries Commissioner Cameron Boltes and the leadership to see the net restrictions through provided by  MFC Chairman Rob Bizzell, Sneed continued. “Nobody wanted to see a complete moratorium, certainly not on a fishery that has been stocked 100% by sportsmen money, but the net restrictions were the tradeoff. Hard to argue against the results.”