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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Commercial fishing groups filed a lawsuit this week because they want regulations for sea turtle protection applied to all fishermen, even folks just out for some fun for the day.

We spoke with a local commercial fisherman who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of backlash from the recreational fishing community and turtle activists.

“Why don’t everybody have to abide by the same laws?” the fisherman said. “From commercial fishermen, to biologists, to Marine Fisheries to the whole nine yards.”

He says commercial boats get a bad rap.

“most of us were born bred and fed on that water. Why would we go out and try to destroy it? We try to protect and serve that water,” he said.

Now he says it’s time others step up to protect it as well following those same rules and regulations. Charter boat captain Trevor Smith says he’s just fine with that.

“It won’t affect my charter business,” Smith said. “We don’t have many encounters with sea turtles and if we do, it’s just in passing. I don’t see a problem with, you know, having to report seeing a sea turtle or injuring one.”

The lawsuit is against federal and state regulators for not enforcing the endangered species act across the board. But the local commercial fisherman we spoke with says there’s a lack of extensive research and he’s not even sure they should be on the endagered species list anymore at all.

“There’s nothing wrong with turtles,” he said. “There’s plenty of them out there.”

Comment on this Story

  • guestyI

    In my 45 years of saltwater fishing I’ve NEVER hooked a sea turtle. This is the dumbest thing I’ve heard in a long time ??

  • BuddyRoe

    Folks, Old Salty Bones has done everything he can to get commercial fishing shut down because of turtle interactions, while illegal takes of sea turtles in the tens of thousands go unaddressed by ESA enforcement in the recreational industry. He also thinks drunk driving is OK as long as you don’t cross the center line and no-one is killed in the accident. In the Gulf of Mexico alone there were 27,291 recreational hook an line interactions with endangered sea turtles. Read the data and suit Ray.
    For years, Old Salty Bones, CCA, and CRFG have done a fine job of covering up their thousands of interactions with threatened and endangered sea turtles, while they push full steam ahead with their lies to public media and attempts to ban fishermen’s nets. There were 31 interactions in commercial gear and commercial industry was forced to stop fishing, yet recreational industry is allowed to continue the unfettered slaughter of tens of thousands? Let the truth be known, which would be the first time ever in your life Old Salty Bones.

  • Old Salty Bones

    Your comments are completely ridiculous BuddyRoe. First I am simply a local resident/angler with NO affiliation to any group or org. to protect turtles. However after your insisting that I am, has me wanting to join such groups to stop Neanderthals like yourself. With such nonfactual jibber you have completely made it impossible to believe anything coming out of your mouth. To use the analogy that I am PRO-Drunk driving shows absolute stupidity. My suggestion is for you to Craigslist your boat and nets, because your days are numbered. You will NOT be missed.

  • TerryBragg

    when young I was able to go to Topsail beach and fish for my dinner. Now decades later the commercial fisherman have all but killed fishing in our great state. Everytime I go to the beach I ask those trying their hand at surf fishing – and in two year, nothing caught! Sort of like having the golden goose for dinner!

    I say manage the fish population as a resource for all or the majority. Hopefully the fish will return, just like protected and managed hunting.

  • GuestieBestie

    This is nothing more than a petulant hissy fit by a dying industry that refuses to be policed to minimize destructive gear and wasteful practices. I don’t think the commercial lobby will like it when all the facts are laid out on the table, and it makes them look even worse.

  • Guest2020

    What industry? They are talking about recreational fishing. Do you know what recreational means?

  • taxpayer

    how many sea turtles have I encountered fishing in the surf at Carolina Beach…hmmm…NONE!

  • Old Salty Bones

    In my 30 years of fishing the coastal waters (inshore and offshore) I have never caught, seen caught or heard of anyone catching turtles on hook and line. Not saying it couldn’t happen but the odds are very low. How could marine fisheries enforce this anyway. Anglers have no way of knowing what is going to bite their line. This is simply a diversion tactic. Netting needs to stop.

  • 1234543

    People this is a pitiful attempt by the commercial fishing industry to get recreational fishermen off the water, NC is one of the last states left to allow the raping of the inshore estuarary and nurseries, states such as Fla banned gill nets years ago inshore, and they would never consir allowing shrimp boats to pull a shrimp net in their intercoastal waters, these so called commercial guys kill everything in sight for a couple pounds of shrimp if they are lucky, and they only work for cash and never report their earnings, they kill everything, from turtles to juvenile grouper, black sea bass, trout, triggerfish, and small flounder by the millions, that is why they do not want an obervor on their boats, and yes, they drown turtles, and porpoise’s too. Back to their shrimpping practices, talking inshore, they don’t catch enough edible size shrimp to supply one restaurant for an hour, all combined, most of those shrimp are less that popcorn size, now that their back is against the wall, they want to put the heat on the recreational angler, yes, your kids and grandkids, it is time to retire them, avderage their last 3 years income tax returns, and pay them monthly for lost wages for 2 years, as long as they are enrolled in a trade school, let’s see how they like that!!

  • beachbum

    only commercial fisherman can operate gill nets – so why should the law apply to anyone else?

    It has already been well-documented by the marine fisheries folks that the gill net operators are refusing to allow observers on their boats AS REQUIRED BY LAW – but the law has no teeth, so they can’t enforce it. The thing that is not being mentioned here is that the FEDERAL government is the one saying that if they don’t comply – then gill net fishing will be BANNED.

    This just proves that these fisherman are only concerned about themselves. If they really cared about the future of commercial fishing in this state – they’d use less intrusive means of fishing, instead of huge nets that deplete ALL stock – not just their targets.

  • Captbmc

    Check your facts before you spread more false information .RECREATIONAL Groups also use nets

  • guest45

    Let’s talk commercial fishing for a minute,these guy’s will fish till the last fish draws a breath, as reference by allowing trawling in the waterways and rivers, killing all the juvenile fish, and for what, a shrimp that is to small to even shell, most of them are shoveled over the sides, the fish, flounder included shoved back over dead. The kids raise fingerling flounder and release them about every year in davis canal, only to be killed by netting before they can even be legal size.

    Offshore the guys fish 200 and deeper waters, the fish seasons have staggered closure times, so the big boys anchor on the same rocks and fish for what is in season, take grouper for instance, all the closed species such as beeliners and red snapper are thrown back with their bladders blown up, then when grouper is closed, they fish for beeliners, throwing back all the dead grouper, and do not be fooled, even with deflating tools these fish are dead, when grouper and beeliner are closed, they fish for triggers, see whats happening, now all the groupers and beeliners are tossed overboard, floating, you can follow the dead fish trail for miles, see why they don’t want observers on board, and if they sneak the fish in and get it in the box’s and shipped, no one is the wiser.

    Black bass commercial guys use traps, they are also allowed to keep the fish at 11″, but you Mr recreational guy, are allowed to keep the fish at 13″, and ONLY 5 of them, where is the justice in that, these are the guys that want you Mr Recreational fisherman stopped from fishing.

    Think about how many restaurants you go into and actually see trigger fish or vermillion snapper, AKA beeliner or red snapper on the menu, where do these fish diasappear too, not where the average taxpayer is getting to enjoy them, it is time to stand up and be counted.

    There was a time people hunted duck, deer, bear and etc for a living, that time has passed, and another time is just around the corner.

  • 1234543

    You people want to see exactly what is at stake in NC and what they do not want you to see



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