Wednesday, April 17, 2013

More bad news for fishermen

A last-minute bill filed in the House today proposes to make striped bass, red drum and speckled trout game fish. If signed into law, it would prohibit the commercial fishing industry to catch and sell the fish. The bill notes that restaurants can purchase the fish from out of state dealers where no game fish status applies.

In a "Do you just beat your wife on Saturday night" move, the bill also includes the scenario for raising revenues needed to dredge Oregon Inlet. That creates a problem for law-makers who want the dredging funds approved but not the game fish status.

To see the bill, click here.

Governor's budget proposal not fishing-friendly

Governor Pat McCrory's proposed budget was filed in the House today and it brings a bad omen for the state's commercial fishermen, seafood dealers, charter boat owners and pier owners. The governor is asking for a 50 percent increase for all licenses related to commercial and charter boat operations. The increase includes boat registrations for commercial and for-hire vessels.

The proposal also, if adopted, would allow the Marine Fisheries Commission to establish gear permits and charge up to $200 for each type.

Pier licenses are proposed to be increased from 50 cents a linear foot to $7.50 per foot which would include allowing pier fishermen to fish without buying an individual license. And the blanket recreational fishing license is proposed to be repealed. The blanket license for charter boats would still be available. [This paragraph has been corrected; the earlier version that pier fishermen would have to buy an individual license.]

For a look at the proposed budget, click here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Former bombing range manager indicted

Harry C. Mann of Manns Harbor, former Stumpy Point Navy Bombing Range manager, was indicted on April 2, 2013 by a federal grand Jury on multiple counts of theft and conversion of federal property alleged to be valued at more than $10 million.

Two other men, Rudy Lozano and John Williams, both salvage recyclers from Chowan County, also have been indicted related to the same actions. The indictment against Mann states that they - as well as others known and unknown to the Grand Jury - conspired and agreed to work with Mann to facilitate the thefts.

The indictment alleges that the three entered into a plan to take government property from the Bombing Range and sell the property to individuals or to scrap metal recyclers.

In some instances, motors and batteries were removed and sold and the remaining portion of the vehicles was sold for scrap. At times, Mann provided a government-owned "low boy" to be used to remove the property from the range. Most of the alleged thefts occurred at night and on the weekends.

The indictment states that a 40,000-ton military personnel carrier was transported to a recycler. In another instance, metal matting for a runway was chopped into multiple sections and then removed from the premises.

At the time of the initial investigation of Mann, the federal government seized property, cash in his home and money deposited in bank accounts. The seizures totaled a value of more than $6.7 million.

Mann is scheduled to make first appearance in federal court on April 24.

Click here to read.