Fisheries advisory committee says no to keeping big, red drum
By SUSAN WEST
on the Outer Banks shouldn’t expect to see that traditional
favorite, old drum stew, on their dining room tables anytime soon.
A fisheries advisory committee recommended Thursday, March 6, that the
state retain the no-harvest provision for red drum longer than 27
inches that went into effect in 1998.
That recommendation was one of several made by the North Carolina
Marine Fisheries Commission Northeast Regional Advisory Committee
following a presentation by Lee Paramore, red drum biologist with the
Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), and public comments at the Hatteras
Village Civic Center.
DMF is reviewing and updating the 2001 red drum fishery management
plan, and has recommended that the prohibition on large drum continue.
During the public comment period, Hatteras resident Bill Foster asked
the state to consider creating a red drum heritage fishery.
Foster asked that residents of villages from Ocracoke to Corolla be
permitted to harvest one large drum on the condition that they turn the
carcass over to the state for research.
“The limited fishery would serve two purposes. Not only
would Outer Banks families be able to resume sharing Hatteras-style
drum, the dish that was prepared to commemorate special occasions, but
it would provide research data about the large fish,” Foster
The advisory committee supported increasing the daily trip limit for
commercial fishermen from seven to 10 fish, while maintaining other
measures to ensure that drum aren’t targeted by commercial
fishermen and are harvested only as bycatch in other fisheries.
“I do appreciate the state thinking about giving me 10 fish.
I’m excited about that and that’s really very sad,”
said David Gaskins of Buxton who told the committee he saw lots of drum
in Pamlico Sound.
The committee also endorsed increasing the attendance requirement for
small mesh gill nets, nets with stretched mesh smaller than five
inches, in some areas, and requiring some unattended large mesh nets to
be set parallel to the shoreline.
Frisco fisherman Bill Van Druten told the committee that the attendance
requirement for small mesh gill nets would have a huge impact on his
fall sea mullet fishery.
“I’m not fishing in grass flats. I fish in deeper
water where I have yet to put a single red drum to the mark,”
said Van Druten.
Committee member Fran Folb of Buxton motioned that the state review the
area off Rollinson Channel in Pamlico Sound described by Van Druten
for exemption to the attendance requirement, and the committee agreed.
The committee also recommended a size limit on “j hooks”
used by recreational anglers in Pamlico Sound in July, August, and
After a series of additional advisory committee and public meetings
wrap up in early April, the Marine Fisheries Commission will review and
approve a final draft fishery management plan.