The battle between recreational and commercial fishermen over unattended gill nets on the Carolina coast is heating up and making news. The Rocky Mount Telegram is running a series of articles about the conflict. From "The Gill Net Quandary: Part One (The Issue) - Debatable Catch"
The recreational guides say the commercial fishermen see their clients “hooked up” fighting red drum on certain areas of the sound. The next day or even later that same day, flounder nets are stretched out to cover the entire area wiping out the drum. And it’s totally legal.
Swansboro guide Rick Patterson said, “I’ve had guys look me in the eye and say they’re going to kill every drum they can. I have no idea what they want to accomplish, but it’s a twisted mentality.”
Although commercial fishermen refer to guides and their clients sarcastically as “pastel shirts” because of their brightly colored fishing clothes, they deny targeting drum with their flounder nets.
Friend of FlyFishMagazine, Capt. Gordon Churchill is a leader in bringing this issue to the attention of his fellow anglers. His position is stated on his facebook cause page which we suggest concerned anglers join:
Unattended gill nets are a wasteful fishing method and should be attended all times to stop wasteful killing of non-targeted fish species.
Mandatory attendance would stop the waste due to the person fishing the net being right there and able to release the fish before it dies.
We support commercial fishermen and their desire to make a living from the water and also support fishing methods that are unwasteful.
Part two of the five part series runs Monday.