Commercial fishing group OPPOSES hunting / fishing amendment

A group you’d THINK would be very excited about a “freedom to hunt and fish” amendment to the state constitution is showing they are less than thrilled. Here is an email sent to the members of North Carolina Watermen United by their leadership:

From:Melba Milak [redacted]
Date: Fri, Oct 26, 2018, 3:01 PM
Subject: Fwd: Opposition to Hunt, Fish Amendment
To: Melba Milak [redacted]
NCWU has many concerns about the proposed Hunt and Fish Constitutional Amendment that will be on the November 6, 2018 ballot.
We are opposed to this Amendment as it reads and are asking that you vote NO.[…]
Thank you
Melba Milak
Secretary, NCWU

Adding to this is an email exchange between Rep. Jason Saine (R) and NCWU’s man on Jones Street Britton Shackelford:

[…] This issue is more complex than just voting for something intrinsic to the heritage of NC. The fact that we have no protection for commercial fishing, the consumer, nor the 3/4 of a billion dollar direct contributor to the state economy, which is charter fishing.

Hunting, and fishing are more than NC issues. The Robertson/Pittman fund, and the Wallop/Breaux fund are excise taxes levied against all fishing (Wallop/Breaux), and hunting (Robertson/Pittman), supplies by the federal gov’t. The 60/40 split of these funds are used to provide so much more than just hunting, and fishing opportunity for the residents if our state. These funds are used to provide outdoor opportunity to other indirect users throughout the nation.

The WRC, and the MFC, have proven themselves to not have the true interests of those they represent, in mind. Extreme regulation curtailing the ability of all direct users of our state saltwater resources to harvest fish, and ultimately provide for the consumer, are now the norm, with an out-of-control,  MFC. The WRC pressing for Sunday waterfowl hunting, against all biological facts, and public, sentiment, is a very real concern.


This amendment poses many grievous concerns to the direct users of our resources; the ones who finance these resources. Our concerns are real, and these concerns have been very real, for a very long time, a d have been consistently pointed out, for over a decade. We would like to see the GA tackle regulatory reform, which we have consistently asked for, rather than pass, yet one more, law that is open to interpretation. 
Thank you
Britton Shackelford

On Oct 27, 2018 8:47 PM, “Rep. Jason Saine” <> wrote:

Hey man, I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear or was misunderstood, I just meant it’s unfortunate that there is disagreement.

Shackelford wasn’t done:

What is unfortunate, Jason, is that a supposed conservative majority has duped the public into thinking this issue is about hunting, and fishing. The for-hire, and commercial industry have been under fire in this state, since the FRA was passed.
I know this was before your time, but  I suggest you study these proceedings to see that the three (3) direct harvesters (commercial, charter/headboat, and recreational) were reduced to two(2) from the 8th reading of the FRA, to the 9th, which was the version that was ratified. As of this time, nobody knows how charter/headboat was dropped, leaving only commercial, and recreational, as the only direct harvesters covered under the FRA.
The original reading if this referendum included commercial fishermen. The commercial designation was quickly dropped, by the House. As this referendum is written, the only anglers given protection are recreational fishermen, not charter/headboat, nor commercial.
Our area of the state is opposed to Sunday waterfowl hunting, even as the WRC has pressed ro pass this. This referendum totally opens the issue of Sunday waterfowl hunting up to the courts,  and removes it from the WRC, and the GA. 
This referendum is unfortunate, Jason. What is further unfortunate is that this referendum totally opens the issue of hunting and fishing up to court challenges, and very liberal interpretation. Melba has included my phone number. If you would like to discuss this, please feel free to call.
Britton Shackelford 
Consider this in conjunction with THIS INFO  and you’ll find a heck of case for a NO vote on this particular amendment.

8 thoughts on “Commercial fishing group OPPOSES hunting / fishing amendment

  1. I am a little concerned that the negative press I have been seeing about the Amendments, from liberal to conservative sites, may impact the most important one of the ballot, VOTER ID, to not be approved. I hope this is not the case and VOTER ID is NC law (again).

  2. Individual liberty and private property are the foundational cornerstone of our republic, both North Carolina and the United States. A legitimate government doesn’t grant natural rights, it guarantees them! Once a government interferes to “regulate natural rights “, they destroy them!
    The moment I read this proposed amendment, I remembered who is in Raleigh. These are lobbyist , bought and sold. They have no original thought , let alone a constitutional compass. This is clearly Agenda 21 being implemented, under the disguise of “ protecting “. No,it’s Regulation! That impedes individual liberty and private property.
    Please read our article, we wrote in 2012

    In Liberty, Greg Brannon

  3. Thanks Greg Brannon for supporting to not vote for any amendments! More laws and regulations will be in the future. NOT vote for the 6 amendments! I wanted to vote for Voting ID’s, but no one knows what will be in the laws.

  4. Currently charter/for hire for the vast majority have the same boat limits as Rec fishers, so I’d argue they run hand in hand with each other. If the Rec limits/seasons are restricted the charter/for hire will feel the impacts.

    Open ended as it is, from all I’ve been told it gives as many blank shells to one harvester as it does the other.

    Sounds like Britton wants an Amendment that protects certain occupations within hunting and fishing, but if they were to go that route, where would it stop?

  5. The commercial fishing industry had nothing to do with the introduction of the hunting/fishing amendment in the General Assembly. I did look at the first draft and didn’t see any boogeyman. The informal discussions about why it was needed was due to the growing influence of anti-gun and anti-hunting sentiment and the animal rights groups. Add on to that the thought of increasing voter turnout.

    There was a substitute added in committee in the Senate that included “commercial activities”, meaning anything deemed to be “commercial” as in selling seafood from fishing or pelts from trapping, would be excluded. We looked at this to be protection for recreational fishing but not commercial. Obviously, that was not acceptable, so I worked on it accordingly.

    Rep. George Cleveland drafted an amendment that would delete “commercial activities” but before it was debated the House recessed for leadership to talk about it in the Speaker’s office. The agreement was to remove “commercial activities” so the amendment was not needed.

    You can favor the amendment or not, but to imply that the protections for commercial fishermen were in and then dropped and passed as such is just not factual. There was an attempt to do it, but it was not successful.

    Imagine the headlines if this amendment fails: STATEWIDE VOTERS REJECT HUNTING / FISHING PROTECTIONS. That would be very helpful, wouldn’t it?

    I’ll be voting for the amendment.

  6. One of Hanig’s donors is the LARGEST CCA’S DONORS, Eddie Smith. Hanig is no friend to the Commercial Fishermen.

  7. I will be voting for the amendment. Hunting and fishing is already regulated. The language of this amendment does not “open it up” to regulation. The language focuses the regulatory ability to the legislature and the organizations that they grant authority to (MFC and WRC for example). I believe this language is included to protect rights to hunt and fish from the judicial and executive branches. You can look and see that the NJ Governor banned bear hunting on state lands (not their normal regulatory agencies) and subsequent lawsuits will be decided by their Courts. I do not see any subterfuge in the amendment and the claims of the NCWU are unfounded. There were many changes to the language of the bill during the process of it becoming referendum, but the original draft did not include “commercial”. The language was added later, but they were really asking for no regulation of commercial fishing which is a bit hopeful for their group. If you are either a recreational or commercial fisher/hunter, this amendment I believe will provide protection to your pastime/livelihood.

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