Last fall I had a ton of fun with some local Buxton fisherman, flounder gigging in Hatteras Inlet, Hatteras Island, NC. Unfortunately, the flounder Gigging season will be shut down as of October 15th, 2016. Right in time for the best part of the season to start. The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission voted in late November to put new restrictions on catching Southern Flounder into place beginning Jan. 1, 2016. Since 2010 the NCMFC has been cracking down on commercial fisherman. This has caused a decrease in fish caught as well as income for the local fisherman and their families. The state of North Carolina can not afford to buy out the fisherman so they are regulating them out of business. To reduce the number of flounder caught is the purpose for the new regulations. Thousand’s of dollars of equipment local fisherman once used for flounder gigging is now illegal due to the new regulations.
It seems as though local fishing knowledge is being lost. There is no appreciation for the skills and livelihood of these skilled fisherman. Conservationists and people who fish recreationally, are generally in favor of the rules, meant to reduce the number of fish caught and replenish the population of the fish. Commercial fishermen, however, oppose the restrictions, saying fears about the flounder population are unfounded.
I hope to see an evolution of change that will benefit the local fishing community here on Hatteras Island. I have slowly began to get to know the local fishing industry and fisherman. I am thankful for the stories and lessons I have learned. Please check out a few frames below of our flounder gigging adventures.