Ready to Dogfish!
By Patricia Smith
Fish Eye News
Nov. 2008 Archive
When North Carolina opens its waters to spiny dogfish fishing this winter, it will be for the first time ever with a dedicated commercial quota.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Spiny Dogfish & Coastal Sharks Management Board, at its October meeting, approved a regional management approach for spiny dogfish that allocates 16 percent of the annual quota to North Carolina.
The management measures will be applied retroactively to the 2008-09 fishing season, which has an annual quota of 7.94 million pounds after adjustments for overages.
States from Maine to Connecticut have already harvested their allocation for this year and their fishery will remain closed until the beginning of the 2009-10 fishing season.
North Carolina may harvest 1.27 million pounds during the 2008-09 fishing season. Louis Daniel, director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, plans to open the season Jan. 1, at the request of the fishermen.
“We don’t know if there is going to be a cutting house in North Carolina this year,” Daniel said.
The fishermen are hoping to eventually bring that industry back to North Carolina, Daniel said. The cutting house could process fish from both North Carolina and Virginia, he said.
“We used to have some cutting houses, but when the fish went away, they closed down,” Daniel said.
North Carolina commercial fishermen had been disadvantaged by an ASMFC coast-wide spiny dogfish quota management system since the mid-1990s. Typically, fishermen had already caught the annual quota of dogfish before the fish migrated to North Carolina waters.
North Carolina fishermen had become so frustrated with the system that many advocated the state not comply with the interstate management board’s rules.
In addition to approving a regional management system, the ASMFC also voted to increase the quota to 12 million pounds for the 2009-10 season. That will equate to 1.92 million pounds for North Carolina.
“Hopefully, it will just go up from there,” Daniel said.
While North Carolina waters will open, the National Marine Fisheries Service closed the spiny dogfish season for federal permit holders on Nov. 1. Therefore, fishermen who want to participate in the state spiny dogfish fishery are required to surrender their federal spiny dogfish permits.