Former fishing agency director does ‘about face’ as consultant on controversial petition

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By Doug Cross
Pamlico Packing Co.

Former fishing agency director does ‘about face’ as consultant for controversial petition

NEW BERN – Tuesday, Jan. 17, many of the commercial fishermen of this state again gathered at the Riverfront Convention Center to protest a petition that would eliminate trawling in North Carolina waters.


The petition, while guised as a measure “to reduce trawling effort,” would restrict trawling to the point that it would no longer be feasible as a way to earn a profit. Representatives of the Southern Environmental Law Group and the North Carolina Wildlife Federation made numerous statements of how “this does not eliminate trawling from the North Carolina waters” but it will do just that.

During the public hearing, a concerned consumer asked: “If you cut back the farming acreage of a farmer by 65 to 70 percent, do you actually believe he can still make a profit and survive?” This is exactly what they already realize and have put forth in this petition to accomplish.

For any petition that has such catastrophic effects on so many people’s lives, the data and science behind it must be questioned.

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation, as part of its research, enlisted several people to consult with them to help write and devise the petition. One of these, Dr. Louis Daniel, is a former Director of the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Division. During his tenure as director, Daniel was questioned on numerous occasions about the very same by-catch issues that the North Carolina Wildlife Federation has now highlighted in their petition.

As a matter of fact, on Oct. 2, 2012, then Director Daniel wrote a letter to the Coastal Fisheries Reform Group, contradicting several charges directed at him and at the Division. (Please pay particular attention to the highlighted passages in this three-page letter):


Dr. Daniel, at that time, used data gathered by his state agency, the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, and by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to show factual and accurate answers to many of the same accusations that are now listed in the North Carolina Wildlife Federation petition.

The question is: “How can an individual — who at the time of this letter used accurate and factual data to answer questions – now consult on a petition against the very same data?” How can Daniel consult and advise where we see the same age-old studies on by-catch used to illustrate their arguments where they best summarize with “We think, and we believe?” The question is troubling enough – the answer may be much worse. One fact: While the petition was being presented, Daniel was not at the presenting table to answer questions. That very fact should be enlightening enough!


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