October 12, 2008
Fishing-Funded Projects Pushed
By CATHERINE KOZAK
By Catherine KozakThe Virginian-Pilot
A data collection system, youth fishing programs and text messaging king mackerel fishing reports are among the projects that have been recommended for funding by revenue from saltwater fishing licenses.
O f 19 proposals, the North Carolina Coastal Recreational Fishing License Advisory Committee agreed last week that 12 qualified for a grant.
"This is the first time that we actually had projects that came through the public process," said Frank Tursi, the committee's co- chairman.
Grant proposals, solicited last summer, had to come from a local government, state agency or university. If a nonprofit wanted to apply, it could partner with one of those entities.
"We expected more, I think," Tursi said. "I think the primary reason is because this was new. So I think we will see more. I hope so. I would like to see 50 projects."
The committee's recommendations will be considered by the state Marine Fisheries Commission for approval at its next meeting in November. The state Wildlife Resources Commission must also approve the proposed projects .
From Jan. 1, 2007 - when the recreational license requirement kicked in - through Aug. 31, the advisory committee collected about $7.9 million .
After deducting costs for other obligations and fisheries projects, the balance in the reserve fund is about $4.3 million .
Taking out money that has already funded projects, Tursi said, about $3 million remains to cover the latest proposals .
"The money is going into the reserve fund," he said. "It cannot be raided by the legislature. So every dime spent on a fishing license is put into a fund that's reserved for these projects."
Tursi said the most expensive project the committee is recommending is a recreational fishing data collection program. The $496,527 grant is for the first year of a five-year, $2.9 million project that is designed to improve recreational data collection.
Such a program was the foundation of the stated need for a saltwater recreational license, he said.
"The more information available, the better," Tursi said, "the more fine-tuned the regulations can be."
Three boat accesses were approved by the committee, for $300,000, $85,000 and $250,000, none of them in the northeastern part of the state.
"I would've liked to have seen a boat ramp project on the Outer Banks," Tursi said.
But the cost of land is so high on the coast, he said, that the fund is not big enough to address that hurdle.
Other projects recommended by the committee :
Take a Kid Fishing Foundation, $25,000.
Take Boys and Girls Club kids fishing, $2,000.
Movement and mortality of spotted sea trout, $98,828.
Text messaging: A new approach to collecting catch and effort information from North Carolina king mackerel tournament anglers, $23,741.
Spawning characteristics and reproductive capacity of blueback herring stocks in the Albemarle Sound, $44,665.
Minimizing habitat impacts through enhanced review of coastal development permits, $135,325.
Development of a performance-based submerged aquatic vegetation monitoring and outreach program for North Carolina, $153,987.
Assessment of spawning and nursery areas of river herring in Chowan River-Albemarle Sound: implications for habitat recruitment success, $131,621.
Catherine Kozak, (252) 441-1711,
$7.9 million in revenue was collected from saltwater recreational fishing licenses from January 2007 through August 2008. Twelve projects were recommended for funding, including a recreational fishing data collection program. The $496,527 grant is for the first year of a five-year, $2.9 million project that is designed to improve recreational data collection. Such a program was the foundation of the stated need for a saltwater recreational license . $3 million is available to fund new projects proposed through local government, state agencies or universities.
Originally published by BY CATHERINE KOZAK.
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