The best government money can buy

state sealErick Erickson, over at RedState wrote something really profound the other day: “If Democrats in control of government is more of a  problem to you than government itself, then YOU are the problem.”

Western North Carolina-based citizen-journalist Nicole Revels has put together one heck of a documentary detailing efforts by bureaucrats and bought-and-paid for politicians to snuff out an industry here in North Carolina that is as old as the state itself. Her film details how federal and state regulators are partnering with politicians and a powerful special interest group to squeeze the life out of the Tar Heel state’s commercial fishing industry.

The bureaucrats’ modus operandi:   How does the attack on the industry work?  Federal and state regulators declare certain species  as”game fish,” which means that they cannot be caught and sold by commercial fisherman using trawlers and nets.  Keep adding species to the game fish category, and you shrink the potential population of fish these commercial fishing folks can catch to put money in their pockets and feed their families.

download (35)Allegations are made that certain species need to be protected from the commercial fishermen because they are “endangered.”  FIshermen speaking on camera say they are seeing bountiful supplies of fish that have been declared “endangered” by government regulators. (Regulations forbid them from even collecting dead “endangered fish” and selling them.)

What methodology is being used by  bureaucrats to determine whether a fish is “endangered”? Revels’ film features copies of emails between various fisheries officials — who toss out arbitrary figures and then VOTE on which one will be used as a benchmark in their endangered species analyses.

Revels’ film notes that the limits on domestic commercial fishing have forced restaurants and groceries biggovtto turn to foreign suppliers to meet the demand for seafood.  The documentary points out that the rise in seafood imports is a boon for the fisheries bureaucrats — they get their funding from tariffs assessed on seafood imports. 

The Special Interest Group: The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) is the driving force behind the effort to squeeze the commercial fishermen.  The group, claiming to represent the interests of game fishermen, suggest that commercial fishing is limiting the potential for game fishing tourism along the North Carolina coast. (No evidence is offered up to support that claim.) 

CCA — according to Revels — was founded by a member of Exxon’s founding family.  In other words, it has deep pockets.  The group has convinced Republican leaders like George W. Bush, Rick Perry of Texas, and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana to go along with their agenda to limit commercial fishing.

CCA has aggressively pushed fisheries legislation in the General Assembly as an “economic development” matter.

Bought-and-paid for pols:   Revels’ film suggests that CCA “hired away” former state House speaker Harold Brubaker (R-Asheboro) from the General Assembly in 2012 to start pushing its concerns at the state level.  (Brubaker resigned his seat in 2012 — shortly after winning reelection — to get a lobbying practice started. )

The documentary features an excerpt from CCA’s Spring 2013 newsletter:

[…] House speaker Thom Tillis (Mecklenburg) has directed Representative Tom Murry (Wake) and Representative Tim Moffitt (Buncombe) to lead the game fish efforts in the North Carolina House.  Through their leadership, we have been contacting both House and Senate members to gauge their support and enlist bill sponsors in both chambers. CCA-NC is encouraged by the support we are receiving, especially in the House. We recognize that the Senate will prove more challenging as there are some senators who have expressed support for the commercial fishing industry on this issue. However, we are working with several members of that body to make sure we will be ready to proceed.” […]

Rep. Murry, of Wake County, can be seen in Revels’ video offering up government money to the fishermen as some kind of compensation for the damage to their livelihoods that may be caused by further game fish legislation.  The 2013 push for game fish legislation died in a House committee — after a long, loud public outcry at the grassroots level.

After CCA’s bill was killed in the House, Gov. Pat McCrory made several appointments to the state fisheries regulatory commission that gave CCA a working majority in the crafting of fishing regulations.  McCrory’s appointments give CCA room to turn the screws on commercial fishing further without having to go through the General Assembly.

How is it that a legislative majority — made up of members of the alleged conservative party — finds itself working in concert with regulators and special interest groups to stomp the life out of entrepreneurs on the coast?  There may be new hands on the gavels in the legislative building, but special interest MONEY still talks as loud as it ever has. 

If you thought it was only Democrats who partnered with job-killers, Revels’ film will really open your eyes.  The debate this election year is not about Republicans vs. Democrats.  It’s about freedom vs. statism.

75 thoughts on “The best government money can buy

  1. Great work by Nicole Revels. Everyone from NC that reads this needs to send it to their state representative and senator.

  2. I’m not a big fan of RedState, but I do dig that quote – spot on, good use – it’s quite true.

    It’s shameful that our elected “leaders” think this type of government action and involvement is in any way justifiable.

    It’s abuse and corruption. This is not what government is for.

  3. “If Democrats in control of government is more of a problem to you than government itself, then YOU are the problem.”

    That is a very long way to say “Republicans ain’t no good either”.

    1. That comment should be that SOME Republicans are no good either. We have always had a wing of the GOP that is actually closer to being Democrats. At one time that was the ”Rockefeller Republicans” and their main organization was the Rippon Society (current NC Republicans Richard Burr and Robin Hayes have been members of its advisory board). Now they are called by generic terms like ”establishment Republicans”, ”Big Government Republicans”, ”RINOs”, or ”undocumented Democrats”. But the Republican base is conservative, and we need to organize that base to nominate conservative candidates and put an end to the plague of Big Government Republicans. We have several of those challenges right here in North Carolina this year in the Senate race and in at least two Congressiional primaries.

      1. ^^^This.

        I would just add that we (conservatives) have got to let people run in the primaries without “ordaining” someone as THE guy/gal. We tend to hang our hopes on the first person who gives us a ray of sunshine and tear everyone else down.

  4. While I don’t consider myself old I have to admit to seeing first hand over a half century of history. For example, I can vividly remember a vibrant fishing industry in eastern Carolina. Many of our small eastern towns were bustling, thriving little communities with economies fueled by small independent businesses and individiuals willing to work hard on the water or with the land. Also, these small primary enterprises made it necessary to have a variety of other supporting businesses.

    Many of these communities are little more than run down ghost towns now with economies based on not much more than real estate agents selling what is left of what natives own to outsiders. But, there continues to be a remnant of the small independent fishermen left. It’s a rewarding life in ways most outsiders could never understand. It’s also hard work and at times dangerous work that requires courage.

    The people engaged in these traditional and honorable endeavors seem to have few friends in government. Instead of representing and protecting the people of their districts, too many politicians are trading their legislative powers to the highest bidder. This dishonorable behavior is a damned shame. It is high time we the people punish those who have betrayed us.

  5. Revels’ video should be mandatory watching for every NC legislator and Governor!
    Can Haymaker somehow send it to them via email list ?

  6. It is ashame that a conservative newspaper would latch onto the conspiracy theories, as stated in this article and “documentary”, as fact.

    The individuals in this “documentary” are as much special interests as any other group – two in particular represent and own extremely profitable corporations and that pack and sell seafood – much of it imported. They have friends of theirs speak on their behalf – that’s special interest.

    These individuals are also all from one small town in northeastern, NC – the coast of NC is a big place and much of the state does not feel as these individuals would like you to believe.

    Several of the “fishermen” dont even fish for the species they lament over and complain about. They all run profitable and established businesses that operate in other fisheries that are well managed.

    1. Troll alert!

      What difference does it make if someone fishes a species they lament about in conversation? Asinine observation. Then, you go on to speak as though you are ‘the fishermens’ accountant and know their finances. Hogwash.

      The regulatory and abusive grip of bought and paid for MFC seats by special interest is breaking and the desperation of those whoring themselves for same is to be expected.

      Transparency is coming and no amount of money can save this corrupt regime of regulators. The Jeannie is out of the bottle. The cock roaches are most certainly scurrying now!

      Todd Bennett

    2. Those who created the video are citizen activists who care about their community and volunteer their time to stop destructive policies like this.

    3. I can’t believe you printed your name, Billy Elliott. I am one of the faces you see on that video. My family has been selling seafood in this country since 1670. I am proud of the fact that George Washington’s number one man in the Revolution was my direct ancestor. I am proud of the fact that my ancestors have fought and died in every armed conflict this country has ever been engaged in. I am just as proud that I am a fisherman, and not an ignorant man like yourself. How dare you even comment on what I do. My grandfather used to say “it is better to be thought a fool and keep your mouth shut, than to open it and remove all doubt.” You should keep your mouth shut. Maybe stuff your communist flag in it if you are havingproblems. This video is the tip of the iceberg, Billy-Boy. You better man up for the whipping coming! I don’t generally like to bother responding to mindless drivel from idiots like you, but it is an open invitation to you, and every other communist like you…… I can be found any time I am not fishing. Come see me; and bring all the friends you want. For those of you looking for truth, you may find it at .

  7. This video is nothing more than commercial propaganda. For the commercial side to claim the deck is stacked against them is comical. They have maintained a majority on the Marine Fisheries Commission for years and continue to do so, all one has to do is look how many commissioners hold commercial licenses, own trawlers, fish houses, etc. The wonderful thing about the Internet is that it shines a light on these untruths and in North Carolina the jig is up. We the people are beginning to see the devastating effects caused by destructive fishing practices and we are fed up. I am not a member of the CCA and do not own a 60000 dollar fishing boat and am tired of being accused of being an elitist by our Marine Fisheries Commissioner Mikey Daniels who you all see in this video. The recreational fishing community is not a special interest group, and should be represented by the commission that makes laws for the states fisheries.

    1. “The recreational fishing community is not a special interest group”.

      That is correct. I, too, am a rec fisherman that does not have membership in the CCA. The CCA is an elitist group that DOES NOT REPRESENT this rec fisherman. In fact, CCA does not even have 1/2 of 1% of licensed NC fisherman as members. So, yes, you are right in your statement, but the documentary definitely identifies major differences between Real Rec fisherman and CCA Corporatists.

      Todd Bennett

      1. I don’t think the propaganda film identifies major differences between CCA and recreational fisherman at all. I don’t think you are understanding me. A very large group of recreational fisherman not affiliated with the CCA are becoming more informed each day to facts that have been hidden away from the public by the commercial industry as well as MFC. I really can’t understand why the Marine Fisheries Commission would continue to cover for any commercial fishermen (see section 10 permit), after the bashing they took in this film. The real recreational community soon won’t need a banquet or auction to get things done in this state, and they sure as hell don’t need you or Mikey!

  8. As the former Republican Party Chairman of Wayne County I’m quite perplexed that you would somehow sanction this video.

    Why aren’t you asking why this group politically forced the current legislature to spend over $1 million dollars of NC taxpayer money this year alone….so these gentleman and their peers can set gillnets to fish on a depleted stock while being allowed to kill sea turtles which are endangered. The NC taxpayer is spending that money for these individuals this year, so sea turtles can be killed in a deal brokered on their behalf by the state of NC under a prior administration.

    Is that how you are advocating NC taxpayer funds be spent? To pay $1 million dollars so commercial fishermen can fish a stock that is in the worst shape in recorded history all the while killing endangered sea turtles that thousands of volunteer hours and children’s participation throughout NC has tried to reestablish on NC’s coast..

    Somehow that fact, like many more like it, was not listed or mentioned in this video. This video is simply about individuals who do not want to be regulated even though all their income comes from a public resource.

    It is also the only industry in NC that does not have to periodically show “no harm” in their continuation of operations like a power plant, an industrial sight, or even a land fill. They operate without having to show they do no harm.

    Should the state ever put this industry thought the environmental impact studies that other industries must go through then the truth will be revealed.

    I don’t understand how people who will stand up for the rights of the unborn, will at the same time defend the raping of our natural resources as some romantic endeavor.

    It isn’t.

    1. You are only perplexed, Ray, because you are scared to death Wayne County GOP Rep. John Bell is going to get hurt in this….which he will if he continues to auction our public trust resources and commercial fishermen’s constitutional rights. You’re probably more worried than perplexed, former wayne county chair, Brown.

      Former First Vice Chair Third Congressional District, (as long as we’re tossing around titles..again.)
      Todd Bennett

      1. John Bell is one of the good young level headed politicians of this state regardless of party.

        1. He is. The RLCNC has endorsed John Bell in the past against Laroque. But it’s two years later and information and belief is leading many activists to the conclusion that certain GOP lawmakers are not representatives, but enablers of various and sundry types of bad behavior. Potential ain’t spit when you avail or enable bad behavior.
          Renounce Gamefish,John…pronto, and give those CCA guys their money back. It’s not worth it. You’ll be fine. Tote water for abusers and it has costs. If you’re reading this, You’re a good guy, John. Just follow the Constitution and rid yourself of that albatross.


          Todd Bennett

    2. Ray, Ray. How many times have I told you to tell the truth? Louis is rubbing off on you. We are fully funding all required ESA listing observations for the state. Louis hasn’t even covered the commercial or recreational fishermen. The NCWU asked that the ITP cover all fishermen, so an injunction on the charter and recreational fishermen couldn’t force a closure. There are 2 out of nine MFC members from the commercial community. There are 5 card carrying CCA members that have never passed a commercial or NCWU resolution asking for the recreational or charter community to have more liberal bag limits, and size restrictions. Your twisted idea of “conservation” is shutting speckled trout season down and let dead fish rot than to momentarily eliminate all restrictions and allow ALL people to get what they can before the resource is wasted. You deceive yourself into thinking you are qualified to discuss shrimp and you don’t even know the parts of a drag her, or the parts of the net used to catch shrimp. Deception is a lie, Ray.

      1. I can read the current NC budget report and can see the taxpayer money being spent for your observers. So don’t bluff others by these posts. When Ashley Bleau went to the Pitt County CCA banquet last night, did he really buy his own ticket and join?

        1. Guess who doesn’t like transparency? From what I hear, more than a few of your members heard ideas they never heard before and liked them. Ashley Bleau is splitting your own locals and Brown is going to implode. Enjoy the ride.


  9. That video is a big pack of lies and deception. Pure unadulterated garbage, and anyone who has followed fisheries and coastal issues in North Carolina knows it. The positions these people are advocating have nothing at all to do with conservatism and everything to do with a small group of entrenched commercial fishermen and fish houses who exploit a public trust resource for personal gain with absolutely no regard to the long term damage they are doing and utterly no willingness to compromise or engage in a constructive dialogue. Nearly every other southern coastal state with good conservative governors has adopted fisheries reforms that sporting organizations like the CCA and North Carolina Wildlife Federation have been advocating here for decades. Every single one of them has experienced better, more healthy fisheries and much higher return on the dollar for coastal business and communities. That video is pure propaganda hogwash.

  10. As for the comment that the deck is not stacked, one only needs to look at the members. There are 3 commercial seats and 3 recreational seats – one of the commercial seats is occupied by the chairman, who cannot participate in the debate while he chairs the meetings. Then there are 2 at large seats, filled by Anna Beckwith and Chuck Laughridge. Chuck Laughridge is a former CCA board member who has been vocal about putting the commercial fishermen out of business for economic gain. Anna Beckwith is the treasurer for a charter boat company that her husband owns – if the commercial fishermen were out of business it would give the charter industry a monopoly over access to the fish. Then there is one scientist, who sides with the commercial fishermen most of the time in his vote! That makes the deck 5 rec. against 4 commercial (3 if you incorporate the fact that the chair cannot engage in the debate) – and their voting records only back this up.

    1. You stated:
      CCA a working majority in the crafting of fishing regulations. McCrory’s appointments give CCA room to turn the screws on commercial fishing further without having to go through the General Assembly.

      So if there is a single CCA member on the Commission, and my memory of about 12 years of attending MFC meetings, only one CCA member was on each, how does CCA control the commission. And for the record, the fine Chairman, Mr. Paul Rose, can vote on any issue. No he cannot debate, but HE CONTROLS debate. If he wanted to debate, well he could step down. Moreover, the Chairperson being from the commercial side, has many powers that favor his sector. For example the Chairperson makes all the appointments to Advisory Committees. Like the River Herring AC, which is stacked 3:1 in favor of the commercial sector. Your ignorance of the entire process is great, and I am tired to schooling you girl. Chris Elkins PhD, former MFC Commissioner

      1. Too bad you’re not tired of being an arrogant and condescending ass, Dr. Chris. Your ignorance on being a dignified human is great.

        Bottom line, your CCA elitists are done buying their way with sell out Politicians. Tillis WILL answer questions and the Governor will revisit his enabling of crony capitalists while stacking regulatory agencies OR he can kiss his re election plans good bye. If he’s as deep as Tillis, he may not make it through his term. This thing is unraveling and fast.

        Now watch and learn, Chris Elkins, Phd, as your political puppet, Rep. Bryan Brown, pays the piper for toting the water for Thom Tillis and selling out NC’s access to public trust resources. It’s going to be a pleasure placing Ashley Bleau, a man of the Constitution and of the people in the NC House.

        Pat McElraft, you better hope nobody signs up on you tomorrow. You’ve been Tillis’ apologist and enabler for too long. Rep. Bell, you’ve got a promising career, I hope you wake up from the spell of thinking you need their money or you need Tillis. You don’t.

        Todd Bennett
        Farmville, NC

  11. they don’t have to periodically show “no harm?” They have observers come onto their boats with them to watch what they are doing, and they have to report every single thing that they catch. Everything that they do is cleared by a whole host of bureaucracies before they may do it. As for the sea turtles, the reason that the state is now having to pay this money for their turtle observer program is the fact that the Beasley group asked DMF director Louis Daniel to provide them with information about turtle kills from the commercial industry and he ignored their requests, so she filed a suit against the DMF through some Duke law folks. I didn’t include a lot of that in the video because Ms. Beasley has told the commercial fishermen that it was never her intention to harm the commercial fishing industry like this, but that Louis Daniel purposefully ignored the situation & caused it to implode in order to bring those mandates upon them. That much is indicated in the video when it is said that she was trying to work with them on other avenues but that the DMF & the state refused to allow it.

    1. So lets hear what you said. It is the turtles fault they are endangered and fishermen have to have observers in order to fish on a stock of flounder that have been overfished for 18 years? In fact, even with the turtle limitations, in 2013 they still were overfishing this depleted stock. Turtles are not the problem, gill nets are the problem. It was the advent of cheap Chinese-made gill nets 20 years ago that brought the fishery to its knee, that along with the failure to properly regulate them. Only in NC. Nikki, why dont you study the States from MD to TX and report back on how those states regulate those fisheries.

    2. I am absolutely shocked by this reporters lack of knowledge on this issue – she apparently has fallen hook, line and sinker for the one sided view of a few individuals from Wanchese, North Carolina.

      Then this reporter has the guile to call anyone who disagrees with her a “CCA troll”?

      I don’t even know where to start with this. First of all, Ms. Nikki is woefully ill-informed on the legal aspect of the turtle lawsuit particularly if she believes that the NCDMF had a part in that fight. They’re only guilty in bending over backwards trying to keep commercial gear in the water as its only leg to stand on is heritage as any economic arguments blows it out of the water. But with turtles – the fishermen broke the law – plain and simple – by not following their own compliance requirements. North Carolina is the only southern state with gill nets – aka the only state with comparable water temperature, fish species, ecosystem and turtle abundances to still allow the use of these nets. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? NC is also the only state that allows large-scale commercial fishing on fish like red drum and speckled trout.

      There are 800 large mesh gill netters in NC – just 800 – and they catch over 30% of the red drum, over 30% of the speckled trout, over 70% of the estuarine striped bass harvest and 50% of the flounder harvest….the other side of the equation is pursued by nearly 500k recreational fishermen. These 800 gill netters – even despite such a large percentage of the pie for their tiny group are only responsible for about $3000 in revenue and $1200 in income. Per. Fisherman.

      So they would have you believe that they need a bigger slice of the pie when even if they were give 100% of the allocation they would still fail to make a living wage off of what is a very limited resource.

      I would encourage you to read up on the economic theory of the “tragedy of the commons” and see how it pertains to the management of renewable natural resources.

      You complain that the deck is stacked – clearly you have not read into the voting records of these commissioners you drag through the mud. The commercial industry is given 3 seats while the recreational sector is given 3 – only 1 of which is allowed to be from “recreational industry.”

      Here in NC – commercial fishing is a 70million dollar industry. Recreational fishing? 2 BILLION — you got that right. TWO BILLION.

      Why does the recreational industry not have several seats?

      CCA did argue for gamefish on economic lines – because the fish are worth 100 times more to the recreational industry and the tourism that surrounds it. But you can’t tell this to people who are convinced that gill nets are the backbone of the NC commercial industry. The backbone of 800 gill netters who earn an average of $1100/fisherman all while having the most liberal commercial regulations in the country.

      Is this why you need a couple of offshore charter boat captains, who gill net in the off season, to tell the “whole story”?

      Here in NC our recreational fishermen have the strictest regulations in the southeast – the only area of the country that has similar fish species, etc. YET our commercial fishery has the most liberal regulations by a mile – they can still use gill nets, they can still use large amounts of those gill nets and they have access to all those “Gamefish” species they have no access to in other states.

      The gear they use is so impactful and ruthlessly efficient it requires over-sight and regulation to oversee it so doesn’t bring down other business…and all the while our fishermen still can’t make any money.

      Then we wonder why no one else allows this gear? Perhaps the problem is that the state of NC tries to accommodate it in the first place – and you vilify them for it.

  12. Here is someone’s response to the commercial propaganda video. Came from NCwaterman. The poster claims these are the lies in the video.

    Charter fishermen are commercial fishermen
    People in the western part of the state don’t know a damn thing about coastal issues
    Elites like the CCA are spinning lies and propaganda against hard working commercial fishermen
    Gill nets and gamefish are propaganda invented by the CCA who is controlled by Exxon and George W. Bush.
    Gill net bans in FL and TX are bad and have been terrible failures.
    Imported fish is poisonous and causes cancer and birth defects.
    NOAA / NMFS is funded by foreign imports
    Sturgeon are not endangered.
    Menhaden are not overfished
    Bush did it.
    There is huge enforcement army out there
    There is more drum than there’s ever been
    There’s more turtles than there’s ever been
    MFC has the deck stacked against commercial fishermen
    Recreational fishing license was a real bad idea
    Net attendance is a bad idea meant to appease the CCA
    NOAA is a jobs program for former members of NC MFC who become drones for the Feds
    Cold stunned trout should be harvested, and besides those fish are the late arrivals that shouldn’t have even been here.
    Stock assessments are bunk, junk science and catch and release mortality data are even worse
    The MFC membership is tilted toward recreational fishing interests and the CCA
    Gamefish bills are the work of western political interests
    Recreational fishermen are killing all the fish
    Trout limits need to be increased to 8. The only reason that isn’t happening is because CCA members want to fish for trophies.
    The CCA is responsible for derailing the sincere efforts of the commercial sector from reconciling and compromising with “real” recreational fishermen.
    Commercial fishing is the equivalent of equal rights.
    Rich guys with Escalades and 100K boats are the only ones behind gamefish.
    Guys driving from the western part of the state are buying $1000 worth of liquor and then get a speeding ticket on the way home, and that’s the economic benefits of gamefish.
    This issue is all about money. But we’re not making any money doing this.
    Compensation offers are a slap in the face, but don’t ask us how much of our catch is sold in NC because that’s private business.
    It’s about jobs, but only our jobs
    Only the CCA and its members will benefit from gamefish.
    Those striped bass we catch are home grown, but let’s not discuss where they were hatched and who paid for it.
    The last good reason left to come to the coast is to eat local caught seafood.
    Gamefish is an antiquated policy???????????
    Florida gillnet ban didn’t work.
    Conservation equals extreme environmentalism.
    Ya’all know nothing about what we do!
    Our voice is not being heard up here!
    We’re not bad people (we’re just doing bad things)
    They couldn’t get gamefish, so they installed Laughridge on MFC.
    They want us to have a 40% reduction, but bycatch isn’t a problem.
    There’s no problem with American shad or river herring.
    You couldn’t have been no damn stupider than sending Chuck Laughridge to MFC.
    5 CCA members on the MFC
    Does he even have a clue where Wanchese is or where Oregon Inlet is?
    The farmers don’t have the gardeners write regulations for them. We need to be under the Dept of Ag
    Joe Shute is the Devil. (He always seemed like a pretty nice guy any time I’ve talked to him)
    Louis Daniel is the Devil (No horns or tail observed at the MFC meetings I’ve attended)
    Chuck Laughridge is the Devil (Well, they may have a point there)

    Congrats on your public service message. You’ve pushed a former advocate of reasonable dialogue and compromise even further into the opposite camp.

  13. That’s just the way things work. We will buy whoever it takes to rid our waters of those nets once and for all.

    1. And certain corrupt elected officials, aided and abetted by lobbyists have the ”for sale” sign out just for corrupt special interest organizations like this. Shameful! These practices need to be stamped out, preferably by people going to jail.

    2. Now that’s funny right there! Also indicative of the integrity of this little blog. Someone makes a comment in my name….

  14. Nikki when will you make a video of the other side of the issue. If you truly are trying to report with integrity this has to be sone, otherwise its just propaganda.

  15. Nikki: Name calling is a sorry tactic. I joined the CCA about a year ago after witnessing the carnage and the deception being perpetrated against our fisheries first hand for about 10 years. CCA is a wonderful organization, and most of its members (not all) are conservative people who are devoted to free enterprise and traditional American values. I used to think that recreational fishermen and commercial fishermen had common values, common interests, not to mention common enemies, and I always thought we could find common ground. I am now very skeptical of that possiblility. I was a Republican and a staunch conservative long before you were born, and I spent 30 years of my life defending this country in the United States Marine Corps. So you can call me a troll on the internet all you want, but that’s neither fair or accurate. Your video and the testimony offered by the people you interviewed are loaded with inaccuracies and outright lies. To cloak it under the garment of “conservatism” is an outrageous deception in my view. I respect commercial fishing families and recognize that the changes many of us are advocating will inflict hardship on some of them. But change is necessary if we have even a sliver of hope of preserving these resources for future generations to enjoy. The economic data by the NC DMF and independent researchers sponsored by CCA-NC are against you and corroborate one another. There is a smarter way forward,, and commercial fishing families and interests need to embrace it or they will continue to lose public support and relevance.

    1. If an environmental activist group, like the CCA, pays for ANY study, it is automatically suspect as being rigged, like all the junk science that comes out of the global warmists.

      The way the CCA hits the internet to hawk their opinion reminds me very much of the way the global warmists do the same thing. Some activist must do blast emails to other activists to generate these posts.

  16. hey Brant you might have stumbled unto something here that will get you more hits then any story you have ever posted. If you do your research and report the whole story not just one side like msnbc. heck you might even get into the thousand comment area, lets be fair and balanced and you will be onfire because this is pretty deep. Do a little digging.lots of info from the other side of the coin.

  17. CCA trolls, if the stocks are as depleted as is claimed, then why did the CCA propose the gamefish bill on the economic premise instead of the premise of environmental impact of commercial fishing? I DID include the other side – many of their own statements and arguments, their own words in their advocacy of the gamefish legislation and the DMF’s own emails in making their “overfished” assessments.

    1. you included the other side? I did not see one live interview with the other side.You cherry picked to fit an agenda. Prove me wrong and show you really are a journalist and report the real story from both sides I dare you.. And Im not CCA not a fishing guide, and don’t own a pastel shirt, I buy local seafood and I have fished in this state for 49 years,

  18. If the story you gave about Mrs. Beasley and the turtles is what you believe, then you have been greatly misinformed. Seriously misinformed.

    The mandatory observers have nothing to do with Mrs. Beasley. Nothing, nada.

    They are mandated because the gillnetters of NC violated their agreement with NOAA after first being found out of compliance with the Endangered Species Act. The state of NC went to bat for the fishermen and brokered a deal where they could still work and were permitted do many interactions with the endangered turtles. No other industry in NC has been given that special privilege.

    All the fishermen had to do to keep that agreement was report when a turtle was found in a net. Mrs. Beasley was one of several who objected to that agreement.

    Several years later it was discovered that the fishermen had not reported any turtles in nets even though many citizens were seeing them.

    The SAMFC secretly sent observers to NC and saw first hand unreported turtles in nets. The fishery in the affected area was immediately shut down because the fishermen had not kept their agreement with NOAA. At that point Mrs. Beasley followed up with her original objection and sued the state of NC for not enforcing the original agreement.

    It was at that point that all parties realized the collective group of fishermen could no longer be trusted to uphold their agreement of reporting turtle interactions.

    It was at this point that the state of NC, whom these fishermen so vehemently spoke of in your video, once again intervened on the fishermen’s behalf and worked out a deal with NOAA and Mrs. Beasley’s so the fishermen could work as long as a small percentage of their trips were observed.

    Observers are mandated because the fishermen did not live up to their initial agreement. They would have been out of business several years ago had Dr. Daniel and his staff not worked out deals for them with NOAA.

    Who pays for the observers is now the issue. The NC taxpayer is paying this year even though most taxpayers don’t know it; yet.

    The legislature has told the fishermen they will have to pay for observers going forward. If a source of funds is not guaranteed then the deal with NOAA is done and the effected gillnet fishery is permanently closed.

    A small percentage of the licensed commercial fishermen in this state have asked the legislature to tax all commercial fishermen for the benefit of the few affected. I am sure that ploy is a favorite of groups that normally oppose taxation.

    Mandatory observers are the result of the men in your video not keeping their word. Not Mrs. Beasley and certainly not the state of NC.

    We all have to pay for our mistakes, it is now their turn.

  19. Let me set the record straight. The CCA does NOT represent the recreational fishery!! It only purports to represent the rec fishery. State wide and nationally their membership is miniscule to the total of recreational fishermen. They, the CCA fish for bragging rights and photo ops as they catch kiss and release. I would imagine most all do like to also consume some of their catch. It is the general consumer that is being forgotten. The comm fishing industry represents the consumers access to the bounties of the waters. This is true world wide. Someone has to provide for the consumer. Common sense dictates that. Why should NC and for that matter this country’s coastal states have to abandon a food producing industry and bow to imports from foreign countries. This is about access and control. If you control the food you control the people. This is about a very very very few having 100% of the access and control of what belongs to all. Those few are fishing for FUN, mind you. It makes one wonder what kind of person would let their pleasure interfere with another persons livelihood? Try as you might there is but one answer. SELFISHNESS!!!! This mindset of individual will move heaven and earth to get their way. Political muscle money is their weapon of choice. That is because sound science has never anchored their efforts. Their membership remains small and is aging. They are desperate. That is reflected in their profound arrogance as well as the arrogance of the elected officials they manage to infect. One NC EO has been so tainted by the CCA that he stated directly to a group of comm fishermen that they needed to reinvent themselves. What can a man like this be thinking other than me me me just like those he is attempting to placate?

    Trolls is a kind word to describe them. I am at a loss as to the word to describe what kind of person would title the subject video as Sex { circle jerk in Wanchese ] in a public post of print. NCWFORUM. ARROGANCE and CLASSLESS comes to mind. Mr Thomas stated above the rec fishery is not a special interest group. He is right, They are not. The CCA is!!!!!!! As stated earlier the CCA only PURPORTS to represent the rec fishery. The records reflect this.

    A point of correction. Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry probably did not even have aspirations of political life at the time the CCA dropped the bomb on Texas and Louisiana. Jr, who caught that local seafood you say you buy? Might it have been someone fishing for a living to provide consumers a protein enriched meal??

    Having the wonderful life experience of enjoying sport and comm fishing as a way of living I can say that never once here in NC have I seen or been aware of the comm industry attempting to thwart the desires of a recreational endeavor. We welcome the rec industry. BUT we the comm fishermen take issue with those that exhibit the desire to replace our noble way of life and service to the public so that you can enjoy your way of fun.

  20. What’s funny is that the CCA has presented a very one-sided, controlled message for decades. When one little video pops up on the internet that actually does present “the other side,” suddenly they are the foremost lecturing advocates of journalistic integrity! I won’t hold my breath waiting for the outcry for fair & balanced reporting from some of the same over the pieces of “propaganda” that are in their favor.

  21. By summer’s end the NCFA and NCWU will wish that CCA was all they had to deal with. We now have groups involved that will make CCA look like your best friends.

    1. As long as we cut out the corrupt politicians who are in the hip pockets of the radical CCA and even more radical environmental organizations, then we can deal with those radicals. The first step is taking out the corrupt political hacks who are in bed with them.

  22. Nikki,
    You keep doing what you are doing, sweetheart. Good job. Thank you for taking your time to produce this. Kuddos!

  23. The CCA says they represent the people…. they just simply do not care that commercial fishermen are part of “the people”.

  24. After this next election we will not only have the state level under control but with our people placed in DC our influence will be more far reaching than ever. It’s about time for the tables to turn.

  25. If you take some time and learn both sides of this issue, you will be amazed. Both sides agree that most of our fish stocks in NC are gone, but they just can’t agree on who to blame.

    Ignore the loudmouths and follow the data and the money and it becomes obvious that the commercial fishermen have miserably overfished everything and continue to do so with inshore trawling and gillnets. Every other state has outlawed that crap along with many countries and they’ve all seen their fish stocks greatly rebound.

    It ain’t rocket science folks – kill all the juveniles with trawls and and all of the breeding stock with gillnets and THE FISH WILL BE GONE!

    As a strong willed conservative, I believe in protecting America – not raping her. For this site to claim to be conservative while supporting overfishing is sickening.

    1. Oh yes. Commercial fishermen are solely response for overfishing of any stock. Recreational fishermen, they are just in it for the sport to catch and release. Just who the @#$% do you THINK you are fooling? Seriously? Immature, unaccountable, and selfish tops of few of the descriptive words that pop in my head.

  26. WOW! If these CCA supporters thought the existing measures were so great, I dont think they would be staunchly “defending” them by only attacking the video. Sounds like this documentary exposed some of their private parts and they are scrambling to throw together what looks like a logical argument. Sorry they are failing. And these fisherman DO represent their trade and their honest concerns for this part of our state QUITE well.

  27. Mrs. Revels- How much did the NCFA, Jerry Schill, Mikey Daniels, Dewey Hemilwright or others pay you to produce that video? You were paid, correct?

    As a life-long registered Republican voter who helped elected Ronald Regan, it is my opinion that you are doing nothing to help the Republican Party. You are willing to burn the house down to kill what you perceive to be a few rats. The Republican Party is going to be the loser.

    Let’s talk fishery politics.

    The late Jule Wheatley was a good friend and business associate of mine. Jule was a tireless supporter of the Republican Party and served as Carteret County chairman for 14-years. Jule was also Owner/President of Beaufort Fisheries. He was a member of the N.C. Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Council. Barbara Garrity-Blake will tell you that she doesn’t know anybody that fought harder than Jule did to support commercial fishing interests from the smallest clammer all the way up to the big boys in Wanchese shown on your video.

    There is one thing for certain; Jule and Marc Basnight sat on opposite sides of the political table except when it came to fishery issues. For more that 40-years, fisheries management in NC has been a Political Science. Those politics have been stacked for the commercial fisherman and are still stacked for them today. Basnight’s legacy still is in control at the NCDMF. Basnight’s recommendations to Gov. Perdue for NCMFC appointments are still serving on the commission and giving the NCMFC commercial vote a majority.

    Fisheries Management in NC has been about favors to family, friends and political donors for more than those 40-years. Pro-resource directors have not lasted long at the DMF. I can only think of one piece of anti-commercial fishing legislation that was driven by politics and that is the closure of the menhaden fishery off Southern Shores. It seems Joanne Davis, wife of the late Basnight supporter Walter Davis, didn’t enjoy seeing the menhaden boats in front of her Southern Shores home. Basnight, the master of political fisheries management, had menhaden boats banned quickly through legislation in Raleigh.

    Social media has given a voice to the underdog in the politics of fisheries management. As Todd Bennett posted above, CCA membership is small when compared to 1/2-million licensed recreational saltwater anglers. No matter how small that membership, the CCA is a voice of many anglers- members and non-members. A voice for the resource is finally being heard. That voice finally has a chance in Raleigh to not only be heard, but to facilitate positive change for the resource.

    Mrs. Revels, you need to dig a little deeper if you wish to be a journalist, today you are an activist. An activist who either doesn’t understand the issues or one that is so far to the right that you think any form of rule through regulation is an intolerable burden on society. If your mantra reflects the Tea Party, God help the Republican Party.

    1. I am fairly certain Ms. Revels dug deep enough. Just because she decided to take it to the commercial fishermens side does not mean she is wrong anymore than you are right. Just because someone does not take your side or see your point of view does not mean they are wrong. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I am just sorry that you cannot take yourself off that pedastool long enough to see that commercial fishermen want the same things you want. They just are not going snivel, snear, and lie about anything to get it. The fact you (CCA and others) only see dollar signs is a sad case. If you are going to squeeze and scrape every commercial fisherman off the water, then I would suggest that somebody find the money to put these good people into the aquaculture business. But I’m guessing that NOBODY, not CCA or any other “conservation group”, is willing to foot THAT bill. Are you? Im betting NOT. Commercial fishermen are hard working, kind, and sincere people. You have literally driven them to the point of begging for scraps on water that belongs to EVERYBODY; including THEM. Take your big bucks and corporate sponsors back to Florida and Texas! WE DO NOT WANT YOUR “FAVORS” nor “SUBSIDIES”. Keep ’em because at the rate this is going, you will be footing their WELFARE bill, and that will just be something else for you to complain about!!!!

    2. Sea Cern,

      Since you used my name as well as NCFA and mentioned the name of one of my very best friends, I’d like to respond.

      I met Jule Wheatly shortly after moving to North Carolina in 1984. In 1986 he was a candidate for the school board in Carteret County when I was a state Senate candidate. We campaigned quite a bit together as Republicans. For 18 years, from 1987 until I resigned in 2005, I was employed by the North Carolina Fisheries Association. Jule was a member of the NCFA Board for most of that time.

      Jule and I went to Raleigh together to discuss the menhaden bill with Marc Basnight. We wanted to convince him not to introduce the bill that would have banned menhaden fishing off Dare County beaches. We failed. Marc told us that he was going to introduce the bill. He was going to push it. AND he was going to pass it. And that’s one of your points that you got wrong. Marc did get the bill through the Senate, and he did so very easily. However, in the House, we forged a coalition between the Republican minority and the Black Caucus, defeating the bill. It was a major embarrassment for the Senate Pro-Tem and he wouldn’t speak to me for quite some time. As I told him when Jule and I met with him, my job was to represent commercial fishermen and I would fight for them with all I had, the menhaden bill being no exception.

      I appreciate anyone that knew and appreciated the late great Jule Wheatly. But you certainly must realize where he would stand in this war of words, do you not?

      Jule Wheatly was a very good man and defender of commercial fishermen. If he were alive today, I could hear him asking me a question if I told him I was back in the fisheries arena again. “Are you all right????”

      Jerry Schill, Interim Executive Director
      North Carolina Fisheries Association, Inc.
      lifelong Republican
      former Republican State Senate candidate
      former Craven County GOP Chairman
      recent inductee in the North Carolina GOP Hall of Fame

      1. Jerry,

        I appreciate your reply. Thank you for adding supporting detail to my comments on politics and fishery management.

        Jule and I discussed the Southern Shores legislation at length. I recounted it per my recollections of those conversations. The point remains unchanged. Fishery Management in NC is a Political Science.

        You’re a paid lobbyist. One only has to look at fishery legislation and rules, or lack of them, since 1987 to conclude that either you were very effective or Marc made things easy for you, well, at least most of the time. My money would be on both.

        In this war of words, you and I will never agree on but a few things and one of those will certainly be our mutual respect for a good man and friend.

        I sense the wind shifting and the tide turning, 2005 was probably a good year to quit.


  28. Thanks Sea Cern. Wow Ray, I thought you were long winded.
    This really is not a partisan issue. Our group represents tens of thousands of recreational fishermen, both liberals and conservative. All are on the same page. BAN ALL NETS NOW

  29. Ms. Revels, with all due respect, you are the perfect choice to have made the video in question. With a mind that’s a blank slate regarding fisheries, you serve as the perfect dupe to repeat whatever drivel you are fed as true. Why look any deeper after all, that would require actual work, right? Fisheries management in N.C. is broken. CCA members and others have worked (too) patiently since 1997 within the prescribed process to effect change. The result has been a steady and precipitous decline in all our fisheries which are managed by the state. Even Red Drum are far from where they were and should be. The realization has set in that change will only come working outside of that process.
    I agree with the earlier poster that the video should be sent to all our representatives in Raleigh. I don’t think a few rich, pompous, know it alls will go over well with most viewers. That video plays well only when shown to the choir, so to speak. It’s funny when you have a bunch of fat cats calling others fat cats. Please keep them coming.

  30. Wow. You guys mouths continue to move, but all I am hearing are untruths, or outright lies. Ignorance becomes stupidity when it is promulgated. There are two voting commercial seats on the Commission, not counting the chair, who is also a commercial seat. The rest are at-large, or recreational. Look at voting history, and a bio if you continue to want to propagate the lie that the commercial sector dominates the commission. Jules, I knew him well, and it is a slap in the face of his legacy that sea Vern would even mention him. His family seafood business is defunct. Handling menace is not politically popular these days. I will quote Jules after a moratorium steering committee meeting. “Boys, I know you don’t like the way this has played out. We have been forced to make concessions that are unfounded in science to this crowd ( Bob Lucas, and the CCA’ers), but we have bought ourselves 10 years. After this is over there will not be an industry, becausethey want it all. Every last bit of it, and they could care less about the man that wants a mess of fish to eat.” None of you know Jack about fish. You know everything about control. What does a title like democrat or republican mean when you want less than 1 percent of the participants to control 99 percent. Look up socialism, please.

  31. Britton shackelford
    February 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    “I can’t believe you printed your name, Billy Elliott. I am one of the faces you see on that video. My family has been selling seafood in this country since 1670. I am proud of the fact that George Washington’s number one man in the Revolution was my direct ancestor. I am proud of the fact that my ancestors have fought and died in every armed conflict this country has ever been engaged in. I am just as proud that I am a fisherman, and not an ignorant man like yourself. How dare you even comment on what I do. My grandfather used to say “it is better to be thought a fool and keep your mouth shut, than to open it and remove all doubt.” You should keep your mouth shut. Maybe stuff your communist flag in it if you are havingproblems. This video is the tip of the iceberg, Billy-Boy. You better man up for the whipping coming! I don’t generally like to bother responding to mindless drivel from idiots like you, but it is an open invitation to you, and every other communist like you…… I can be found any time I am not fishing. Come see me; and bring all the friends you want. For those of you looking for truth, you may find it at .”

    Think Britton is having an identity crisis? Is he Forest Gump or Lt. Dan? LT DAN on his destiny.

  32. I just want to ask some question to start with when in history has the commercial fishermen ever gone before the MFC/DMF or any other legslative body and requested 1 thing being taken away from the recreational side.

    Why do you claim that that the MFC is stacked commerial when if you follow the history of voting on the mFC for several years now, the vote id 5-4 for recreationals.

    Why did one former CCA Board of Directors memeber, who occupys an At-Large Seat, amend a motion at the last MFC meeting from the science seat to basically deny both user groups more harverst of spotted sea trout when the Director states that over fishing was not occuring. It appears to me that much as I wish to to be allowed more daily limit in my commercial catch as would the average recreational angler the “at large seat” would deny both sides more, to control one group.

    Nikki thank you for compiling this. as it shows just what is behind the scenes. A few trying to control for their own enjoyment, a resource that will be denied to the consumer, and to continually restrict commercial fishermen from wild harvest as an attempt to shut down the industry.

  33. Britton-
    Re-read my post, in no way did I disrespect Jule or his family. I always had the utmost respect for Jule’s unwavering dedication to his goals, his industry and his work ethic. In the end, his business didn’t go “defunct”. Jule saw the calling for “highest use” of a valuable resource. I talked to him several times both on site and on the phone while he was overseeing the clean-up/demo of BF.

    How many more waterfront commercial fishing operations saw the “best use” as being real estate development? Jule was many things, knowing how to turn a dollar was a skill set he mastered well.

    NC would do well to apply “highest use/greatest return” to fisheries management.

    The commercial fishing industry certainly doesn’t mind selling out when the money goes in their pocket.

    The commercial industry doesn’t mind feeding at the taxpayer’s trough.

    Britton- His name was Jule, not Jules.

  34. You know what’s funny?

    Is how bent out of shape these CCA guys get about people supporting commercial fishing. It really chaps their a$$.

    I guess when you are as narrow minded as someone like them, it is difficult to grasp the concept that a person doesn’t have to be involved in a fishery to enjoy the benefits of it. You see, that is the problem, they want to take the consumer out of the picture. They constantly attack the commercial industry from every angle, while claiming they want “compromise”. Their idea of “compromise” consist of them having control of all fisheries.

    You hear all the BS coming from them about “how good fishing could be”. But at the same time, you can listen to Chuck Laughridge’s public comment at the gamefish hearing when even he admits, “THERE IS NO BIOLOGICAL REASON FOR GAMEFISH!”. That right there tells you their efforts are not about the fish. It is about control.

    They complained about the state funding observers. The commercial groups propose a way for us to fund the observers and now they are complaining about that. You see, it was never about “who” was funding the observers, it’s about them not wanting the observers funded, period. That brings us right back to their goal of controlling the fishery.

    It’s all about the agenda of a small group of self-righteous recreational fishermen who claim to represent “all recreational fisherman”. They don’t!!! Their membership is a small fraction of the total number of recreational fishermen. They create multiple groups and websites to appear a larger number than they are. To describe that, I guess you could use the same description Chuck’s alter-ego used on NCWATERMAN.COM in the forum topic about this video.

  35. I’ve never met one recreational fisherman that wasn’t dead set against commercial netting. We’ve got tens of thousands of signatures demanding that our public resources be given back to the rightful owners. Stay tuned because change is just around the corner. When you see who we have involved, you will realize this is no longer a local issue.

    1. Dean, if your cronies didn’t censor the websites and forums you all spew your BS on, you, along with the rest would see just how many recs are not against commercial fishing.

      Your comparison is like standing in a horse pasture saying all you can smell is $#!+!

      1. Yes fishy the horse pasture analogy could be used for either side of the issue. I’m betting that the side with the most horses wins, so get ready for a stampeed.

  36. Think that we were all assured that gamefish was a certain last year by some of the mouthy people from the CCA but it did not happen. May still happen though since big money does talk and too many politicians have their hands out. Anyone that is able to read will quickly discover the true goal of The CCA and what they have done to commercial fishermen in many of the southeastern States over the years. Right now they are claiming they only wish to rid NC’s coastal sounds of the larger trawl vessel in order for the small trawler to make more money which will also reduce bycatch. Does anyone actually believe that BS that the CCA is concerned about the small time commercial in N.C. and wants to help them? The CCA is and has always been against trawls and entanglement nets which are primary gear that commercials use in NC.

  37. This is a classic example of how the UN Agenda for the 21 st century (Agenda21) is being implemented in NC. The corrupt GOP leadership in the NCGA led by Thom Tillis continues to push Agenda 21 on a number of fronts including Common Core and HOT lanes in spite of the fact that a strong resolution against Agenda 21 was passed at the 2012 NC GOP state convention.

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