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"Spread The Word" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/27/10
 

Everyone who takes time to read the Fishing Report has an interest in fishing.  Captain Brant talked about how important it is to have as many people contact as many Senators and Representatives as possible, and not just those of us living along the coast.  You might consider using the various social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to encourage your friends to get involved.

We have a sea bass charter today.  If I get any scoop I'll pass it along.  Stay warm!


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"More Fisheries News" | OIFC 1- 36' | 02/27/10
 

More details on proposed closure affecting our area.  Big meeting this week in Horry County- fishermen are urged to attend.  If you can make it, show up.  There's some contact info below to Kim Stevens who is neck deep in the process.  She can help answer any questions- read and see below. ** Also more DC pics below.

Gregg Holshouser, outdoors columnist: SAFMC to rehash closed fishing area off South Carolina coast

Fishermen in the Southeast will be keenly watching the proceedings at Jekyll Island, Ga., next week when the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) has a meeting Monday through Friday. The huge issue on the council's agenda is Amendment 17A, which potentially has far-reaching impacts in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Amendment 17A's intent is to end overfishing of red snapper and the council is considering closing massive areas of the Atlantic Ocean to all bottom fishing in order to protect the species from by-catch and subsequent release mortality when anglers are fishing for other reef species.

Specifically, at a meeting in Atlantic Beach, N.C., in December, the council in a split vote selected Alternative 4D as the preferred closed area. The alternative includes a 9,678-square mile strip of bottom that stretches from off Melbourne, Fla., to due east of Cape Romain near McClellanville in depths of 98 to 300 feet.

Approximately 3,500 square miles in the proposed closed area are off the South Carolina coast and include prime snapper-grouper habitat - hard-bottom areas and ledges - fished by recreational and commercial anglers from all S.C. ports.

The 13 voting members of the SAFMC, including three from South Carolina, struggled to decide on a preferred alternative. Council member Tom Swatzel of Murrells Inlet makes clear his stance.

"I don't know of any bigger threat for the coastal economy of South Carolina than the proposed 3,500 square-mile closed area associated with Amendment 17A," said Swatzel. "It's serious - a lot of fishermen and tourism-related businesses could go under with the imposition of that closed area. I am going to oppose any fishing closed areas off South Carolina that would be included within 17A."

A resolution opposing any closed area to bottom fishing off the state's coast was adopted by the South Carolina Senate on Feb. 11 and a House version of a similar resolution is in the works.

Swatzel brings up several points in opposing the current preferred closed area:

A small percentage of red snapper landings in the Southeast, 11 percent, occur off South Carolina.

The red snapper fishery is already closed through June 2 because of an interim rule requested by the SAFMC and could be extended another 186 days.

A new stock assessment of red snapper will be available in 2010. The most recent stock assessment was completed in 2008.

"The real problem is that No. 1, only about 11 percent of red snapper landings in the South Atlantic region are landed off South Carolina. It's just a by-catch," said Swatzel. "No. 2, the fishery is already closed so there is no real justification to close any area off South Carolina to bottom fishing. If the majority of the council thinks that closed areas to fishing are a way to manage red snapper, then they need to consider putting the closed areas where red snapper are most abundant, not where they are a by-catch.

"I would like to see the closed areas revisited. I would like to see any closed areas off South Carolina being off the table."

South Carolina's representatives on the council include Swatzel, David M. Cupka and Robert H. Boyles. Cupka is the council's vice-chairman and Boyles is the South Carolina DNR's Marine Resources Division representative. After two other alternatives failed to receive a majority vote at the Atlantic Beach meeting, Cupka made the motion that Alternative 4D be the preferred alternative and it was subsequently approved.

Swatzel wants to wait for the up-to-date stock assessment of red snapper in the South Atlantic region, which is expected to be available in December, before moving on the issue. The council could take final action on Amendment 17A at a June 6-11 meeting in Orlando, Fla., and send it to the Secretary of Commerce for approval.

"Logically, the council shouldn't be making any final decision on 17A until we have the results of that stock assessment," said Swatzel. "I'm hoping the fishery council will not adopt any version of 17A until we have the best available information including that new stock assessment. The earliest that could be would be December."

The issue within the issue is that the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act mandates that a plan to stop overfishing must be in place within a year after overfishing of a species is determined to be occurring, which forces the council to act quickly. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, the most recent stock assessment - completed in 2008 - indicated that the South Atlantic population of red snapper is overfished and is undergoing overfishing.

Between 3,000 to 5,000 fishermen, both recreational and commercial, rallied at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to protest the direction of fisheries management, including stipulations of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

With the council's meeting fast approaching, time is short for concerned fishermen and business owners to contact members of the SAFMC.

"Write letters, e-mail or call members of the fishery council, particularly those from South Carolina that have a say in any closed areas that might occur off this state," said Swatzel. "I think communication is vital. I would encourage those kinds of contacts - they are effective."

All council members' contact information is available at www.safmc.net. The meeting can also be watched live via video stream on the Web site.

Hey Brant, The meeting that we discussed is going to be Tuesday night at 6:00 at the Horry County Court House in Conway, SC. Bring as many people as you can so we can get this out to the public what they are trying to do to the fisherman. A TV crew will be there and also you'll will get TV time from the council meeting. I also need as many letters as you can get from anyone that is hurt by this. I will get those letters to Henry Brown. If you need to contact me you can reach me anytime at 843-222-9327 or my e-mail at work is kimstevens@elliottgmac.com these are the two best ways to get me. We all need to stand up and help each other out on this matter. Thanks for your help

Here's the list of all the folks on the commission deciding to close down the huge stretch of ocean from FL to SC.

Chairman
Charles Duane Harris
(GA Obligatory Seat)
105 Demere Retreat Lane
St. Simons Island, GA 31522
912/638-9430 (ph)
seageorg@bellsouth.net

Vice-Chairman
David M. Cupka
(At-Large Seat)
P.O. Box 12753
Charleston, SC 29422
843/795-8591 (hm)
843/870-5495 (cell)
palmettobooks@bellsouth.net
 

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Members

North Carolina

Dr. Brian Cheuvront
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries
P.O. Box 769
Morehead City, NC 28557
252/726-7021 (ext. 105) (ph)
252/762-0254 (f)
brian.cheuvront@ncdenr.gov  

Benjamin M. "Mac" Currin
(At-Large Seat)
801 Westwood Drive
Raleigh, NC 27607
919/881-0049
mcurrin1@bellsouth.net

Rita G. Merritt
(N.C. Obligatory Seat)
38 Pelican Drive
Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
910/256-3197 (ph)

910/256-3689 (f)
miridon@ec.rr.com

South Carolina

Robert H. Boyles, Jr.
S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources
Marine Resources Division
P.O. Box 12559
Charleston, SC 29422-2559
843/953-9304 (ph)
843/953-9159 (f)
boylesr@dnr.sc.gov

Tom Swatzel
(S.C. Obligatory Seat)
P.O. Box 1311
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
843/357-1673 (office)
tom@swatzel.com

Georgia

Spud Woodward
GA Dept. of Natural Resources
Coastal Resources Division
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
One Conservation Way, Suite 300
Brunswick, GA 31523-8600
912/264-7218 (ph)
912/262-2318 (f)
Spud.Woodward@dnr.state.ga.us

Charles Phillips
Phillips Seafood/Sapelo Sea Farms
1418 Sapelo Avenue, N.E.
Townsend, GA 31331
912/832-3149 (ph)
912/832-6228 (f)
ga_capt@yahoo.com

Florida

George J. Geiger
566 Ponoka Street
Sebastian, FL 32958
772/388-3183
georgejgeiger@bellsouth.net

Ben C. Hartig
9277 Sharon Street
Hobe Sound, FL 33455
772/546-1541 (ph)
bhartig@bellsouth.net

Mark Robson
FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
620 S. Meridian Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
850/487-0554 (ph)
850/487-4847 (f)

Mark.Robson@myfwc.com

National Marine Fisheries Service

Dr. Roy Crabtree
NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator
Regional Administrator
NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Region
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
727/824-5301 (ph)
727/824-5320 (f)
roy.crabtree@noaa.gov

Non-Voting Members

Wilson Laney
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
South Atlantic Fisheries Coordinator
NCSU Campus
P.O. Box 33683

Raleigh, NC 27695-7617
919/515-5019 (ph)
919/515-4415 (f)
Wilson_Laney@fws.gov

John V. O'Shea
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commisson
1444 Eye Street, N.W.
6th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005
202/289-6400 (ph)
202/289-6051 (f)
voshea@asmfc.org

Lt. Brian Sullivan
U.S. Coast Guard
Brickell Plaza Federal Building
909 S.E. First Avenue
Room 876/ District Response and Enforcement
Miami, FL 33131-3050
305/415-6781 (ph)
305/415-6791 (f)

Brian.A.Sullivan@uscg.mil 

Deirdre Warner-Kramer
Office of Marine Conservation (OES/OMC)
Department of State
2201 C Street, NW, Room 5806
Washington, D.C.  20520-7818
202/647-2883 (ph)
202/736-7350 (fax)
Warner-KramerDM@state.gov

 


- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Boat Trailering Update" | OIFC 1- 36' | 02/27/10
 

You may recall all the stuff last season on boat trailering laws.  I'm starting to get some questions on that and I had to look up the new rules to remind myself- they are below FYI ---

NC State Statute 20-116(m) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, a boat or boat trailer with an outside width of less than 120 inches may be towed without a permit. The towing of a boat or boat trailer 102 inches to 114 inches in width may take place on any day of the week, including weekends and holidays, and may take place at night. The towing of a boat or boat trailer 114 inches to 120 inches in width may take place on any day of the week, including weekends and holidays from sun up to sun down. A boat or boat trailer in excess of 102 inches but less than 120 inches must be equipped with a minimum of two operable amber lamps on the widest point of the boat and the boat trailer such that the dimensions of the boat and the boat trailer are clearly marked and visible.

* My only question concerns the amber lights.  I believe the standard running lights that come on trailers will suffice for this, but don't hold me to it???


- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"DC Rally in retrospect" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/26/10
 

The DC Rally was a heck of an experience. Often we choose not to get involved because we fear that committing our time and effort will not make a difference. We choose to stand on the side line and watch, thinking that if there's a chance anything can be done, you alone will not make the difference. I too had these concerns when dedicating my time and the Ocean Isle Fishing Center's money to arrange for a bus to take a group up to the DC Fishing Rights Rally. I could just picture us showing up and being the large part of a very small crowd. However, that could not have been the farthest from the truth. Everyone that rode our bus agreed that this was a worthwhile effort and the general sense was that we might actually make a difference.

I crossed the bridge to Ocean Isle at 3:55am and looked down on a packed OIFC parking lot. Commercial fishermen, For-Hire fishermen and recreational fishermen all mingled in the parking lot. The bus showed up minutes later and after loading up our "I FISH, I VOTE" pickets (supplied by Charter Lakes Insurance), we were out of the parking lot at 4:15am sharp. The ride up was uneventful and seemed to go by pretty fast. We made a stop at McDonalds for breakfast, and I was impressed with how well they handled getting a bus load of 50+ hungry fishermen dropped on them. We missed most of the traffic and at 11:30am we were standing in between Union Station and the State Capitol. The Rally had begun to form as a stage and large banner were set up on the lawn in front of the State Capitol. Fisheremen were pouring in from all directions, most toting signs and some wearing bibs, fish hats, rubber boots..... Our group made a plan to meet back together at 3:15pm and headed into the Rally crowd. The Rally started at 12pm sharp and the crowd continued to grow, 50 yards wide by a hundred yards deep at least- I heard them say maybe 4000-5000 in attendance. One after another Senators, Reps, Mayors, Governors, Lobbyists, Fishermen took the stage. It was a very well orchestrated event as each person had a different story. The Congressmen that showed were both Democrats and Republicans- notables that I recognized included Shumer, Frank, Scott Brown, McIntyre, Kaye Hagan and several others from the northeast, carolinas and Florida; all pledging their support for House Bill 1584 and Senate Bill 1255- providing for flexibility in fisheries reform. In between elected officials you'd get Fishermen and business owners who would tell their story. They were some of the most interesting speakers, many very impassioned, but surprisingly, all were very well behaved. The buzz word with elected officials seemed to be "jobs", as they were preaching the hot topic of job loss. Closing fisheries is increasing our unemployment as well as destroying much of Americas heritage. Save the fishermen, not just the fish. Also widely mentioned was that the best stewards of the sea were the fishermen, not the NMFS folks sitting behind a desk, using bad science to make their decisions.

It was much as I would have pictured a Rally. Big crowds, lots of pickets of all variety, a colorful crowd and lots of yelling and emotion. Points were made on stage and the crowd would roar; in between there was the constant single yell from a crowd member: "What about us? " or "Pew Sucks " or "Down with NMFS"...... At 1:15pm I looked down at my watch and wondered how on Earth they were going to keep this going until 3pm. But they did. Speakers continued to flow and it never got boring. At 2:15pm my wife and I decided to walk around the scene a bit to take it all in. I thought this may be the only Rally we ever attend in our life, so we should take in the experience. We shook hands and ran into friends from the SKA. We saw news crews interviewing and secret service standing by with a watchful eye. The crowd was diverse, but somehow you could tell they were all fishermen. Racoon eyes, sun baked skin, white beards, dread locks, flip flops, fishing shirts, rubber boots..... We continued toward the back of the crowd when it happened. Jim Donofrio with the RFA ( he organized the Rally ) and one of the event MC's called out from stage, "Is Brant McMullan here?" I froze; my eyes looked like those of a Grouper just pulled up from 200+ feet. Again, "Brant McMullan, you out there?" I ducked to hide for a second, my wife grabbing me to get up there. Again, "Brant are you here?" Then it hit me. When will I ever again get the chance to stand on the steps of the Capitol in front of a huge Rally crowd. I would regret missing the chance. So, just like Jenny did in Forest Gump, I threw my hands in the air and began shouting, "Here I am!" I was a good 100 yards from the stage, in the very back. The crowd around me starting yelling and parted all the way to the stage. It was surreal. I sprinted to the front, all eyes on me. A man reached down from the stage to grab my hand and help me jump right to the stage. I will confess, as I was running, one thought dominated my mind. I had recently seriously muffed the speech at my brother's wedding, "Don't mess up. Redeem yourself." I jumped on stage and turned to the crowd. There I was. I did not go into a rant about the NMFS or fish closures, but instead opted for recognizing all the folks who rode the bus up from Myrtle Beach to Wilmington- "We are here!" I thanked the RFA for their work and thanked all the fishermen from all walks for showing up. I was thinking, "I want this picture" -- so I concluded with a fist raise and "Hoorah." Mark that one off the bucket list.

The Rally ended promptly at 3pm and everyone made their way to the bus. We were on the road by 3:45pm. Traffic was a mess and south of DC it started raining. The ride home took forever as everyone was tired and ready to get home. We bombarded a Wendy's for dinner, which was not ready, throwing us later home. We pulled into the OIFC parking lot at 1:30am.

Everyone went their way and hopefully is telling their story of adventure. It is a memory that I likely will never forget, and well worth my time and effort.

Thanks to all those who volunteerd their time to ride up to DC with us. Thanks to Jim Donofrio and the RFA for hosting and organizing the Rally and thanks to all the elected officials for taking their time to show their support.

Now, the work must continue. You must contact your elected officials and ask that they support House Bill 1584 and Senate Bill 1255. The thing is that it can't just be our own elected officials. You need to call your relatives, friends.... from all states- whether its Kansas, Minnesota.... and have them to ask their reps to support the bills. Support from just the coastal states won't be enough. Visit

www.unitedwefish.com and www.joinrfa.org for details on the status of the bills and how you can help.
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Now Hiring" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/26/10
 

Have positions available for store clerk and I also need a charter captain to run boats late Spring and Summer.  Email captbrant@oifc.com for application.
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"DC Rally" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/25/10
 

To read the newspaper account of the rally in Washington read today's Wilmington Star News, www.starnewsonline or simply follow this link.


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"Capt Jeff Williamson's Trip" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/24/10
 

We were all missing Captain Jeff Williamson until he sent this picture of a big red fish he caught will fishing in Charlotte Punta Gorda Fla..  Capt. Jeff said the water temperature dropped so low it killed the young tarpon and most of the snook.  He did find some red fish,  trout and a whole lot of sun while fishing with Captain Rhett Morris.

There was a big trout kill in Morehead City, N.C. due to the cold. there was even one of the biggest snow falls recorded in the recent past in Moscow and a fish kill due to the cold now in southern Fla.  Perhaps Captain Brant should invite Al Gore and some other global warms to speak at the Spring Kick off in March..

Also, it is with great regret that I am unable to make the trip to D.C.  I feel strongly about this issue, will miss the bus ride which ought to be a blast, and I love a good protest!  Someone get locked up for me.  Good luck, and I hope this will have the desired impact.


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Bus to dc fish rally is full and we are on the way. Mcdonalds survived our onslaught, hopefully dc will? Will keep you posted in real time. Wish us luck.
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

We are here. 7 hours. Watch out dc
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Big crowds assembling
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Mike mcintyre takes the stage!
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Senator barnie frank takes the stage.
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Jack holmes with the ska takes the stage
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Senator scott brown from mass. Spoke as well. Big news.
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Guess who was the grand finale speaker? Look closely. I know how forrest gump felt as he addressed the masses. I am now an official activist. I spoke at a protest rally on the steps of the capitol.
- Capt. Amy McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

its been a long day. Almost home
- Capt. Amy McMullan
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"Star News' Report-DC Trip" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/24/10
 

The Starnewsonline (Wilmington) has an excellent article on the D. C. Ralley.  Follow this link...
- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"DC Trip- Tomorrow AM" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/23/10
 

Let the games begin.  The bus will leave the OIFC at 4:15am SHARP on Wednesday, February 24th.  If you have been in contact with me and I've saved a spot for you, you are committed to show.  The bus is full and many have been turned away who wanted to attend. 

The bus will leave the OIFC at 4:15am and make 2 stops on the way for food and leg stretching.  There is a bathroom on the bus, but for the sake of everyone's health and comfort, let's save those morning "duties" for the stops.  We should arrive in DC around 11am and the rally is scheduled from 12pm-3pm.  We will leave shortly after 3pm, make a couple of stops on the way home again and hopefully arrive back to the OIFC around 11pm.  I have a bunch of picket signs that were provided by Charter Lakes Insurance, so don't worry about signage.

Bus entertainment is up in the air.  We will have a wide range of characters on board and I'm looking forward to the trip.  If anyone has any DVD's, games, stories... bring them.

Again, tomorrow 4am at the OIFC the bus will be leaving.  Be there. 


- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"DC Rally- couple of spots opened up" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/23/10
 

Have had a couple of calls this AM with folks who can't go.  If you want to go or know someone who does, have them to call me at 910 367-2945 -- Brant
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Swansboro" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/22/10
 

Capt. Zach reported that while we were fishing the Georgetown Hole a friend went the opposite direction and fished off Swansboro on Sunday.  They caught a 45 lb wahoo and several black fin tuna.

We are 2 days and counting until the trip to D.C.


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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